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Mysterious Blaze of Light Seen Over Midwest

February 25, 1991

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) _ A blaze of light streaking across the sky early Monday left surprised Midwestern residents suspecting everything from a Scud missile to a falling satellite.

″This was saucer-size. Then it had a tail of yellow bright light extending out the back and it was streaking across the sky,″ said Eva Kelly of Fargo. ″We were waiting for an explosion after we lost sight of it. That’s how frightening it was.″

Mark Kopischke of Eagle Lake, Minn., compared the streak of light to televised images of an Iraqi missile. Witnesses in Nebraska and South Dakota also reported seeing the lights.

″There’s only two things it can be: a falling satellite or a fireball,″ said Nels Forsman, a planetary geologist at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. He said it probably was a fist-sized rock falling from space.

″There’s a lot of stuff up there and it does come back down,″ he said. ″They normally don’t last beyond an altitude of 16 miles. So you normally don’t need to duck.″

Maj. David Griffard of the U.S. Space Command in Colorado Springs, Colo., which tracks man-made objects in space, said the light likely was a meteor.

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