A Police Dashcam Caught A Stunning Fireball As A Meteor Fell To Earth

How often do meteors burn up in our atmosphere? That’s a tough question to answer, but as dashcams have become more popular and everybody has a camera in their pocket, we’ve seen more and more meteors become fireballs and explosions. Still, even by that standard, what a police dashcam caught was fairly dramatic.

The video, from the Lisle, IL police department, appears to capture a bolide as it burns up in the atmosphere. Bolides are meteors that burn unusually bright as the air friction peels them like a grape, and you might notice that it changes colors as it burns off; that’s thanks to the various elements the bolide contains igniting. Fortunately, nobody was hurt, but as you might guess, giant fireballs pose a safety risk: A bolide in Russia in 2014 injured hundreds when it exploded in the lower atmosphere.

Fortunately, it appears this one didn’t hurt anybody, instead offering one lonely officer out on patrol a light show to keep them company in the wee hours. Or, if we’re trapped in a bad movie as reality increasing seems to feel like, we’re about to narrowly survive a meteor storm with the help of some plucky oil well drillers. We’ll take either, really.

(via National Weather Service Chicago)