Real Fireballs and Publicity Stunts Collide

It’s been an interesting week for skywatchers in the U.S. On Monday, several reports came in of a fireball over Chicago. The American Meteor Society received at least nine reports of what was described as a bright white-yellowish object with a tail moving slowly across the skies above Chicago.

Anyone who has ever seen a real fireball knows they move incredibly fast.

So, if it wasn’t a meteor, what did folks in Chicago see? It turns out Red Bull was having a little fun Monday night. Three members of the Red Bull Air Force were skydiving with flares attached to their shoes as part of a promotion for the ‘Red Bull Art of Can” exhibit in MIllenium Park.

Here’s what the skydivers looked like from the ground.

chicago fireball

And, here’s a vantage point from a Red Bull skydiver.

red bull fireball

The American Meteor Society figured out the object was most likely man-made after receiving only a handful of reports.

Typically, real fireballs spawn hundreds of reports from several states. In fact, an hour earlier, the group received more than 200 reports of a bright object moving across the sky over parts of the eastern U.S. Reports stretched from Maryland to Georgia. That was definitely a meteor, or perhaps some space junk burning up in the atmosphere.

Another fireball was also spotted this week in Japan. The video below shows a bright fireball quickly moving across the sky in western Japan.

Related Posts