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Boulder-size asteroid behind `Manhattan meteor`

Last Updated: Monday, March 25, 2013 - 15:37

Washington: Scientists have revealed that the dramatic fireball that lit up skies over the US East Coast on Friday evening was caused by an asteroid just 3 feet (0.9 meters) or so wide.

The Friday`s "Manhattan meteor"-which shone as brightly as the full moon was apparently visible from Maine to North Carolina.

As such boulder-size asteroids slam into Earth`s atmosphere every two or three days, scientists said the Friday`s fireball wasn`t a terribly rare even.

But the sensation it created on Twitter and other social media outlets is understandable nonetheless, said Bill Cooke, head of the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA`s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

The Manhattan meteor entered our planet`s atmosphere over eastern Pennsylvania Friday and streaked southeast from there, flaming out over the Atlantic Ocean.

While space rocks of this size sometimes produce meteorites (rocks that survive to reach Earth`s surface), Cooke said, it`s unlikely that scientists or collectors will snag any pieces of this one.

"The eyewitness accounts indicate that this meteor was last seen about 70 kilometers (43 miles) into the Atlantic, so I do not believe there are any meteorites on land from this event," Cooke said.


First Published: Monday, March 25, 2013 - 15:37
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