Researchers seek further insight from January’s meteor in lower Michigan

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan seismologists are studying a meteor that exploded in the atmosphere over the state in January with the help of scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego.

The University of Michigan seismologists and the California scientists will publish their combined data on Michigan’s celestial event in a research paper, the Detroit Free Press reported . It’s slated for publication later this month.

The findings could help researchers understand how often bolides, the name for meteors that explode in the atmosphere, occur outside the view of witnesses.

The Jan. 17 meteor showered small fragments down toward Earth near Livingston County’s Hamburg Township west of Detroit. Witnesses watched the spectacular meteor flash across southern Michigan skies. People in Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri and Ontario, Canada, also reported seeing the meteor.

It’s rare for such large meteor events to occur in a heavily populated area within the recording capability of several scientific instruments.

“This event kind of fell into our laps; we were studying something else,” said Michael Hedlin, head of the Laboratory for Atmospheric Acoustics at Scripps.