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NASA: Flash in East Coast sky likely a meteor

nasa meteoroid environmental office american meteor society

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#1 Hum

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 14:13

NEW YORK (AP) — East Coast residents were buzzing on social media sites and elsewhere Friday night after a brief but bright flash of light streaked across the early-evening sky —in what experts say was almost certainly a meteor coming down.

Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environmental Office said the flash appears to be "a single meteor event." He said it "looks to be a fireball that moved roughly toward the southeast, going on visual reports."

"Judging from the brightness, we're dealing with something as bright as the full moon," Cooke said. "The thing is probably a yard across. We basically have (had) a boulder enter the atmosphere over the northeast."

He noted that the meteor was widely seen, with more than 350 reports on the website of the American Meteor Society alone.

"If you have something this bright carry over that heavily populated area, a lot of people are going to see it," he said. "It occurred around 8 tonight, there were a lot of people out, and you've got all those big cities out there."

Matt Moore, a news editor with The Associated Press, said he was standing in line for a concert in downtown 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." These include lasting 7-10 seconds, being bright and colorful, and seeming to cross much of the sky with a long stream behind it.

He said what people likely saw was one meteor — or "space rock" — that may have been the size of a softball or volleyball and that fell fairly far down into the Earth's atmosphere.

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#2 Geoffrey B.

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 14:15

Meteors everywhere these days lol.

#3 SuperKid

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 14:42

Posted Image

#4 The Laughing Man

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 14:50

Just the fragments of a larger one on the way :shiftyninja:

#5 Pupik

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 14:55

False. Those were aliens passing by.

#6 DocM

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 03:56

They weren't passing by :ninja:

#7 ShareShiz

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 04:01

Nice attached picture :|

#8 Growled

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 04:06

Meteors everywhere these days lol.


It seems a bit strange to have another one so soon after the one in Russia.

#9 rfirth

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 04:20

It seems a bit strange to have another one so soon after the one in Russia.


Happens all the time. It's just getting reported more because of the one in Russia.

#10 DocM

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 09:44

Reportage is up for many reasons besides just awareness. Other factors are that security cameras are documenting many that people never saw, and folks whose reports were previously only in local media are posting to social media & YouTube where big media pocks them up.

#11 Riva

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 10:21

I believe but needs double-checking, the massive gravitational fields of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune attract comets and our solar system is in a "rocky" area of the galaxy right now

#12 HawkMan

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 10:38

It seems a bit strange to have another one so soon after the one in Russia.


Small meteors hit earth every day.

#13 OP Hum

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 17:41

Nice attached picture :|


It's not a great photo, since it was taken from a security camera.

#14 AJerman

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 17:59

God has taken a liking to Taco Bell recently.

#15 +Brandon Live

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 18:01

I believe but needs double-checking, the massive gravitational fields of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune attract comets and our solar system is in a "rocky" area of the galaxy right now


Comets != meteors.

A meteorite impact is a fairly minor event. A sufficiently large meteor could of course be devastating. But a comet is a whole different ballgame, due to its speed.