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‘Most brilliant thing I have ever seen.' The hunt continues for Missouri meteorite

Adriana Navarro

Amid the Mercury transit and the Taurid meteor shower, it was a rogue meteor that was the star of the show on Monday over Missouri.

The lone meteor was not a member of the Taurid meteor shower, NASA reports. Instead, the orbit and brightness of the fireball indicates that it was a fragment of an asteroid.

The space rock was around 16 inches in diameter, about the size of a basketball, and weighed over 200 pounds when it entered Earth's atmosphere, according to the NASA Meteor Watch.

(Image/American Meteor Society)

The meteor traveled northwest at 33,500 mph, according to NASA - more than 40 times the speed of sound, which is approximately 767 mph. The meteor broke apart about 12 miles above Bridgeport, Missouri.

Although it flashed over Missouri, people reportedly saw the bright fireball as far away as Texas, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Indiana, according to the American Meteor Society (AMS).

There is a $25,000 reward offered by the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum for the first one kilogram of the meteorite recovered.

"A loud BOOM that shook the house and windows. Sounded like someone set off a bomb in the backyard. The entire sky lit up up (sic.) brighter than daylight," Sherry R. from Sullivan, Missouri, reported to the AMS. Sherry was just one of nearly 300 people to report to the AMS that they saw the fireball early on the night of Nov. 11.

"It sounded like big logs being dropped on a log pile... first from in front of me then from behind me," Heather G. from Hazelwood, Missouri, reported.

Not only was the meteor loud, it was brighter than Venus, qualifying it as a fireball. Reports and a weather satellite even confirm it was briefly brighter than the full moon.

"I thought it was a firework discharge for Veterans Day in Dakota Dunes, SD (sic.)," Denise B. reported from Burbank, South Dakota. She reported seeing a red light from the meteor.

Reports on the color of the meteor widely vary from red to green to light blue and yellow. Until the remains of the meteor can be found, the color can be used to learn more about what fell to earth Monday night.

The Colors of a Meteor HD.jpg

"The meteoroid composition can be determined based on the color of the fireball (sodium produces a bright yellow color, nickel shows as green, and magnesium as blue-white, etc.)," the AMS tweeted.

The hunt for the remains of the fireball that dazzled the Missouri sky continues. While the sight of it was fleeting, many of the people who caught sight of it expressed their awe and surprise in their reports to the AMS.

"At first I thought it was a plane on fire. It was headed towards the direction of a nearby airport. Then just abruptly flamed out. That's when I realized it was a meteor," Alan H. from Olathe, Kansas, reported.

"It was the most spectacular meteor I've ever seen," Manuela W. from Leslie, Missouri, reported. She had run into her house to tell her husband she had just seen the biggest shooting star in her life. He had also seen it from his office window. That was when they heard the first boom. Manuela's husband thought that an airplane had crashed or exploded when they heard it.

"This is the second fireball I have seen and reported, and while it was not (as) splendidly colored as the one I reported a year ago, it evoked much more power. You almost felt it," Trey F. from Appleton City, Missouri, reported.

"Most brilliant thing I have ever seen in regards to shooting star or meteor. Truly unbelievable," Daniel M. from Sant Joseph, Missouri, reported.