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Date: December 12, 1997 at about 8 pm
and Boyceville, Wisconsin
Source: The UFO Roundup,
Volume 2 No. 49
GLOWING ORANGE FIREBALL STIRS UPPER MIDWEST
On Friday, December 12, 1997, at about 8 p.m.,
a UFO described as "a glowing orange or red" sphere
was seen over Eyota, Minnesota (population 1,448),
a town on Interstate Highway 90 about 100 miles
(160 kilometers) southeast of Minneapolis.
Within 15 minutes, calls were received in police
stations to the south in Wisconsin, Iowa and
Missouri, reporting "a mysterious flash of light."
Experts said the flash was "probably caused by
"It was a good-sized red ball," said Wylie Peterson
of Colfax, Wisconsin (population 1,110), a town on
Highway 170 about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northwest
of Eau Claire and 261 miles (418 kilometers) northwest
of Milwaukee. "It left a pretty good tail behind it. It was
too big to be a flare."
In Boyceville, Wisconsin (population 913), a town
20 miles (32 kilometers) west of Colfax, a private plane
was reported overdue, and townspeople organized a
search of the local woods. The search was suspended
after they realized that the glow was "probably from
the meteor" and not a crashing aircraft.
Astronomers at the University of Minnesota and
Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa said "the
phenomenon was best explained by a single meteor
entering the Earth's atmosphere." They noted that
December 12 is the height of annual Geminid meteor
"We are constantly bombarded by fragments of
old comets," said Lawrence Staunton, a physics and
astronomy professor at Drake University. "They are
mostly not seen."
The orange fireball, however, was also seen in
Cresco, Iowa (population 3,669) on Highway 9 about
228 miles (365 kilometers) northeast of Des Moines.
(Many thanks to Steve Wilson Sr. and Errol Bruce-
Knapp for these reports.)
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