March 7, 2015 - ILLINOIS, UNITED STATES - Did little green men take a cruise in their spaceship over Alton? Probably not — but something strange in the sky caught the attention of several Telegraph readers Thursday evening.
According to Robert Lunsford of the American Meteor Society (AMS), reports of a fireball came from across the state Thursday evening.
"The sightings were clustered right around Chicago," Lunsford said. "We've only received a couple from the St. Louis area. We have 34 total sightings. St. Louis seems to be on the southwestern edge of our reports. It was apparently seen as far away as Ann Arbor, Michigan."
Lunsford added that similar sightings came from Texas and Louisiana around 2 a.m. Friday. He said the southern fireball had about half as many reports as the one over Illinois. Such bright fireballs are common in February, March and April, he added.
"This is the peak time for evening fireballs," he said. "I have no doubt that it was a meteor."
Lunsford said most of the reports claimed to have seen a large green fireball, but some were blue or yellow. According to Lunsford, the seemingly strange colors are actually quite common when a large chunk of space debris enters Earth's atmosphere.
"Entering the atmosphere excites the oxygen molecules and creates a sort of greenish glow," he said.
The AMS is still investigating the case, which includes looking for evidence that the meteor metamorphosed into a meteorite by hitting the surface of Earth.
"There's still a possibility that it did," Lunsford said. "We look for signs of sonic booms that indicate that the object entered the lower atmosphere. We haven't had any of those so far."
Social media in the Riverbend was abuzz with chatter about the fireball — or whatever it was — late Thursday and early Friday. Facebook user Jason Cox wrote on the Telegraph's wall that he saw the object around 8:30 p.m. Thursday evening while traveling north on Homer Adams Parkway off Broadway.
Another user, Berthal Allsman said he saw a similar object on Homer Adams Parkway and described it as "kool as h—-."
Mandi Carroll wrote that she saw it while driving on Missouri Route 367 towards Alton.
Most Facebook users that claimed to have seen the object on the Telegraph's page described it as a meteor. Others jokingly theorized that it was a spaceship, a methamphetamine lab explosion or popular Star Trek character Spock, portrayed by the recently deceased Leonard Nimoy, reaching his destination on the final frontier.
The Alton Police Department said that they did not receive any calls on the matter. Alton Police spokesperson Emily Hejna speculated that it was most likely not a visiting life form from the far reaches of the cosmos.
The Telegraph also reached out to NASA regarding the matter, but nobody from the administration had responded to the request as of press time. An official did confirm they were investigating the reports, however. The official echoed the belief that it was probably not a spaceship. - The Telegraph.