Not everybody was watching the Superbowl last night, some Iowans were watching mysterious lights in the sky. The Iowa State Patrol got about a hundred calls from people who saw bright orange or red flashes in the southern sky between seven and eight P.M.
Some people thought it may’ve been an aircraft on fire, but none are missing. Experts say it may’ve been meteors but there’s no known major meteor shower underway right now. Doug Rudd, of the Des Moines Astronomical Society, says he thinks it was "space debris, some satellite or a rocket booster that was coming back through the atmosphere and breaking up."
Rudd says the colors are often key in determining what’s blazing through the sky. He says different minerals put off a green or an orange glow, but usually they’re not mixed, which he says lends to the argument this item may’ve been comprised of multiple parts, like a satellite. Rudd says this incident is something of a surprise since there are so many agencies that constantly track every bit of space "junk" and every large meteor near earth.
He says "The amount of data that’s available to us to track those things is quite voluminous and when something like this does occur, it really does take people off guard." Eyewitnesses include a Dallas County Sheriff’s deputy, a National Weather Service worker in the Quad Cities and a pilot. The flashes were also reported over Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin and Indiana.