green fireball
© Unknown
Whatever it was, it was green.

When Alma College Geologist Murray Borrello was driving south on Wright Avenue in Alma Wednesday evening and a big green light flashed across the sky in front of him, other motorists traveling south put on their brakes.

"You couldn't not see it," he said. "It would have caught your attention. It was a good sized object.

"Is it space junk? Something that fell from an airplane? I don't know. I had a kind of sick feeling. It was big, green and glowing. I've seen shooting stars. I've never seen green ones, but others have. It was weird."

No calls came into Gratiot County's 911 central dispatch, but that wasn't the case in the metropolitan Detroit area.

Several Oakland and Macomb county police departments received calls from people saying they saw something weird around 9 p.m.

In the mid-Michigan area, Borrello wasn't the only one to see it.

Michigan State Police Sgt. Terry Guernsey and his wife Susan were watching television about that time in their home near Maple Rapids. With their big southern windows, they had front row seats for the light show.

"I said, "Look at that, look at that," Susan Guernsey said. "It was flourescent green and oblong. I saw it for several seconds. Looking toward Fowler."

Susan said it did not drop like a stone and Terry Guernsey, who said he has seen shooting stars and meteorites, hadn't seen anything like this.

"It did not come straight down. It was sort of diagonal," she said. "It was oblong shape and somewhat dark in the middle. It was big."

Her husband agreed.

"It was big. It appeared too low, over Fowler."

For his part Borrello said it appeared round, but not perfectly so. It left very little trail.

He said it appeared to be white around the edges and it could have been dark in the center.

"You had a sense of distance," he said. "It would have fallen miles away."

Some reports from the metropolitan area said callers saw "an illuminated object" fall from the sky, although there was no elaboration.

Reports of sightings have come from Indiana, Maryland, Louisiana and Illinois. The consensus is that it was a meteor.

David Batch, director of the Abrams Planetarium at Michigan State University did not see the green light in the sky and so he can only speculate what it was. But he has seen shooting stars and meteors of every color.

The fact that it was seen to come down diagonally is typical of them, he said.

"It often appears horizontal unless you are right in line of its path," he said. "There is a sideways velocity."

"Bigness" he said, doesn't count. Brightness does.

The average shooting star seen in the night sky is likely the size of a grain of sand. The light comes from the air surrounding it and its speed, Batch said. Although most meteors are whitish or faintly yellow, colors of green, red, or orange aren't unheard of.

Green however, is somewhat rare.

Something that can light up the whole sky is likely the size of a fist, he said..

"For the color to have been seen so vibrant, it had to have been quite bright," he said. "Stars are colored but color can be detected only in the bright ones."

Meteor or not, it was eerie.

"I saw this, swear to God," Rachel Fussman McClintic of Mt. Pleasant, wrote in an e-mail. "I was driving home from a meeting last night at this time. It WAS green...and I was driving down Mission, southbound, toward campus.

"It scared me at first," she continued. "I thought, "Is a plane crashing the ground? It weirded me out but then I just told myself it was a very bright shooting star. And then I kind of forgot about it."