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VIDEO: Meteor shines bright blue over South Dakota sky Thursday morning

The National Weather Service said the meteor, which was captured on camera in Watertown, prompted reports from Clear Lake and Bath

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A meteor lit up the Watertown sky a brilliant blue on Thursday, March 23, 2023. This screenshot was taken from a Watertown camera at 3:12 a.m.
Contributed / Watertown Police Department

WATERTOWN, S.D. — A meteor was captured on camera in northeastern South Dakota on Thursday morning, instantly changing the sky from a deep black to a magnificent blue.

Shortly before 3:15 a.m. Thursday, March 23, a meteor was sighted burning through the atmosphere over Watertown.

A city camera in downtown Watertown captured the meteor as it burned through Earth’s atmosphere, resulting in a burst of baby blue to fill the camera’s entire view of the night sky for a moment.

The video, shared on Facebook by the Watertown Police Department, racked up hundreds of likes and shares within an hour of its posting, with the agency saying a warrant has been issued for the meteor in connection with its excessive speed.

The National Weather Service in Aberdeen said it has received reports of the meteor from Clear Lake and Bath, which lie roughly 35 and 85 miles away, respectively.

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More than 17,000 meteoroids are estimated to enter Earth’s atmosphere annually, according to the Planetary Science Institute (PSI), then becoming meteors. Roughly 500 of those meteors — less than 3% — will reach earth’s ground and become meteorites. PSI reports that only approximately 10 meteorites are recovered from Earth’s surface each year.

The American Meteor Society said there’s a “very poor” meteor rate in late-March, but noted that two major meteor showers are expected to reach Earth soon, with the Lyrids shower peaking on April 22-23 and the Eta Aquariids shower peaking May 7-8.

A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021 and now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on local news in Sioux Falls. He also writes regional news spanning across the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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