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Possible Meteor Lights Up U.S. East Coast

Science & Tech  (tags: astronomy, NASA, meteor, science, research, news, discovery, space )

- 2190 days ago -
Reports of a flash of light that streaked across the sky over the U.S. East Coast appeared to be a "single meteor event," the U.S. space agency said. Residents from New York City to Washington and beyond lit up social media with surprise.


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Michael O (176)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 9:31 am
"Judging from the brightness, we're dealing with something as bright as the full moon," Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environmental Office said Friday. "We basically have (had) a boulder enter the atmosphere over the northeast."

Cooke said the meteor was widely seen, with more than 350 reports on the website of the American Meteor Society alone.

Robert Lunsford of the society told USA Today "it basically looked like a super bright shooting star."

The sky flash was spotted as far south as Florida and as far north as New England, the newspaper reported.

Matt Moore, a news editor with The Associated Press, said he was standing in line for a concert in Philadelphia around dusk when he saw "a brilliant flash moving across the sky at a very brisk pace... and utterly silent."

"It was clearly high up in the atmosphere," he said. "But from the way it appeared, it looked like a plane preparing to land at the airport."

Moore said the flash was visible to him for about two to three seconds, and then it was gone. He described it as having a "spherical shape and yellowish and you could tell it was burning, with the trail that it left behind."

Derrick Pitts, chief astronomer at Philadelphia's Franklin Institute, agreed that the sightings had all the hallmarks of a "fireball."

Pitts said this one got more attention because it happened on a Friday evening and because Twitter has provided a way for people to share information on sightings.

He said what people likely saw was one meteor or "space rock" that may have been the size of a volleyball and fell fairly far down into the Earth's atmosphere. He likened it to a stone skipping across the water getting "a nice long burn out of it."

Pitts said experts "can't be 100 per cent certain of what it was, unless it actually fell to the ground and we could actually track the trajectory."

But he said the descriptions by so many people are "absolutely consistent" with those of a meteor.


Tammy B (9)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 9:35 am

g d c (0)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 10:35 am

Kit B (276)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 11:31 am

A meteor a normal phenomena but one that can be stunningly beautiful. I think we miss many because of our own ambient light shining into space. How wonderful for those who saw this.

What no claims of UFOs and little green men?

Mike S (86)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 1:50 pm
Thank you for the interesting article Michael.

Vicky P (476)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 2:52 pm
awesome ^^

Roger G (148)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 3:17 pm
noted, thanks!

Gloria picchetti (304)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 4:14 pm
Is it a meteor or a space rock? No matter what I see no way to control it. There are so many factors in life that are so much worse.

DaleLovesOttawa O (198)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 8:58 pm
Fascinating, the mysteries of space.

De D (96)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 9:38 pm
Wish I could have seen it. Thanks.

Sherri G (128)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 10:09 pm
Sorry I missed it. Lucky you if you saw it. Thanks Michael

S S (0)
Monday March 25, 2013, 4:01 am
Thank you.

Kerrie G (116)
Monday March 25, 2013, 5:04 am
Noted, thanks.

Alan Lambert (91)
Monday March 25, 2013, 2:53 pm
No difference between a meteor and a "space rock" Pitts knows what he's talking about, he's my second favorite living astronomer.

Julie F (68)
Monday March 25, 2013, 6:53 pm
Cool to see.

Darcie Busch (0)
Monday March 25, 2013, 8:13 pm
wish i could of seen it.
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