• A bright fireball was seen from several states early Wednesday
  • Videos of the event show the fireball with a long, bright tail
  • It was likely the re-entry of Russian satellite Kosmos-2551, an expert said

A stunning fireball graced the Midwest skies early Wednesday, but experts say its source wasn't a "natural" one.

The fireball streaked across the dark skies at about 12:45 a.m. Wednesday, WXYZ reported, with the sightings ranging across southwest Michigan and even in other states including Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky and Ohio.

In a video of the event, one can see the slow-moving object moving across the sky with its long, bright tail.

In another video, shared by the American Meteor Society (AMS), the object even appears to be breaking apart.

According to the AMS, there have so far been 81 reports of the fireball sighting, with some people sharing photos and videos of the event. However, it appears the fireball wasn't exactly of natural origins.

"This was not a natural fireball but appears to be the re-entry of an unknown satellite or spent rocket body," the AMS noted.

NASA also confirmed that the object was not natural and it was a satellite that re-entered the atmosphere.

"There are many accounts from the midwestern states of a bright long-lasting fireball seen around 12:43 am EDT last evening (wee hours of October 20)," NASA Meteor Watch wrote in a post. "This event was not caused by a natural object; it was produced by the reentry and fragmentation of a satellite over that area of the country."

By Wednesday afternoon, astronomer Jonathan McDowell of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory shed further light on the mystery, noting that the object may have actually been the remains of Russian satellite Kosmos-255 1.

"The fireball network confirms that the event seen in Michigan was at 0443 UTC (1243EDT) which is the exact predicted time Kosmos-2551 passed over the region, and within the reentry time uncertainty window given by Space Force," McDowell said in a tweet. "So I conclude that the ID with Kosmos-2551 is solid."

Kosmos-2551 is a Russian reconnaissance satellite that launched last Sept. 9, according to However, it evidently failed soon after and now seems to have returned back to Earth. As for what may have happened to it, the object appears not to have harmed or "threatened anyone on the ground," the outlet noted.

Fireballs – meteors that appear brighter than the planet Venus – like the one seen here over the desert of Central Australia are common and can be spotted all over the world. Creative Commons