Friday night, I met up with some friends at Millennium "We weren't 4 years late, we were 996 years early" Park to hear my friend Michelle and the rest of the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra and Chorus sing the final concert of the free GPSO Summer Concert Series.
The concert didn't start until 8:30 PM, because the Chicago Air and Water Show was going on, and I guess the GPSO wanted to ensure that they wouldn't be drowned out by FA-18s.
There was a fireworks show at 9, but we didn't even hear it from MP.
So the evening was wonderful and we were enjoying everything, when suddenly:
The sky started falling.
I was sitting on the western edge of MP, so the Aon Center (the 3rd tallest building in Chicago) was just east of my northern view, then a space of maybe 3" if you held up your fingers to measure, then more buildings.
There was no air traffic at this point. A very, very bright UFO (unidentified falling object) was suddenly visible. We first noticed it at about 1000' altitude, and watched it fall all the way to about 400'. Then it disappeared behind the buildings.
Towards the end, it appeared to split into two pieces.
We were amazed, and didn't know what to make of it. It was so close, so beautiful.
Everyone in our immediate area was stunned.
About 2 to 2 1/2 minutes later, it happened again, but this time, it was three smaller pieces falling at the same rate, at the same angle. Again, we were stunned.
Then about 5 minutes later, it happened for the last time - same sort of thing, but toward the end it appeared to zigzag a bit.
Then, my husband thought, "Oh, maybe it's skydivers with magnesium flares!"
I replied that if that was the AWS's skydiving show, it sucked. It was totally random, no rhyme or reason.
I talked to other Chicagoans the next day who had been in the same area. They said, "Ohhhh, did you see the end of the Air Show?! Wasn't it cool?"
Now, keep in mind, this happened at about 10PM, long after the Air Show ended.
So I told them, "That couldn't have been the Air Show. It was too late, and it was too random."
Skydiving is a very precise, very orchestrated "show", particularly when they dive at night with flares. The only way this meteor-shower nut can describe it? It looked like the coolest falling stars you've ever seen, but it definitely looked like falling stars.
The next day, Tom Skilling from WGN (incidentally, the nation's HIGHEST-PAID weatherman, period) reported that the Perseids were still falling and very visible in Chicago's skies.
He did NOT, however, mention this event, just that many people were still seeing meteorites.
My opinion? So many people (like my friends at work) saw it and thought, "That's the Air Show", even though it happened an hour after the show ended.
The rest of the people? Maybe they thought, "Oh, that's pretty cool" and then went back to talking about Lindsay Lohan being gay.
I wish someone who knows about these things and maybe saw it (HELLO, ADLER!) would comment on it.
UPDATE: I found one mention of a woman seeing four shootings stars over the Lake.
(FYI, if you are sitting on the west edge of Millennium Park looking due North, you are actually looking straight towards Lake Michigan. The shoreline curves (think the S-curve on Lake Shore Drive near the Drake Hotel), so the ones she saw could have certainly been the ones I saw.)