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Expert says meteors are not uncommon in mid-December

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IRON RIVER, WI-- Chris Bast lives in Iron River, Wisconsin with his two dogs.

"It's quiet. It's rare to even hear a car drive by on the highway," said Bast

But on Wednesday morning around 7 a.m., Bast experienced something that he hadn't before

"All of a sudden there was a big bang. It was big enough to shake the walls and rattle some of the stuff in my house a little bit," said Bast.

Bast and his dogs were startled and went to check out what was going on outside.

"By the time I went up and looked outside, it was just total silence," said Bast.

But Bast wasn't the only one who heard the loud noise.

Connie Bruegmann also heard it while she was sleeping at home.

"The boom awakened me. At first, I thought it might be thunder," said Bruegmann

But it wasn't just a booming sound these folks witnessed

"Just suddenly the snow lit up electric blue," said Evan Tyler, an Assistant Professor of Physics at the College of Saint Scholastica.

It was the blue color of the light that caught the eye of Tyler.

"Seeing one as bright as this would probably be a bit less common," said Tyler.

Tyler knew what he saw was a meteor, which made sense given the time of year, as early to mid-December is Geminid meteor shower season.

"Every year we pass through this debris field that was left behind by an asteroid that crosses through our orbit, Venus's orbit, and Mercury's orbit," said Tyler.

During this time, it's common for meteors to come in contact with earth and fall at very high speeds.

"The rock was fragmenting as it was going through the atmosphere. So you had a pressure cooker going off in the air. You have to be a lot closer to hear it," said Tyler.

While the experience itself was brief, it is something Chris Bast and his dogs won't soon forget.

"This is the first time I've experienced anything like that. I've seen meteors and stuff out here quite a bit. But it's the first time I've heard a boom like that. I'm sure I'll remember it," said Bast.

The American Meteor Society says they fielded 66 reports of this morning's show in the sky.

John Cardinale

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