Minivan-sized meteor packed explosive power

Last Updated: Thursday, April 26, 2012 - 10:36

Reno: Scientists say a giant fireball that exploded in daylight over California`s Central Valley over the weekend was a rare phenomenon and much larger than most meteors.

Bill Cooke, a specialist in meteors at NASA`s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., estimates the flaming object was about the size of a minivan.

It was seen from Sacramento to Las Vegas and in parts of northern Nevada as it entered the atmosphere with a loud "boom" about 8 a.m. Sunday.

Cooke says its disintegration probably released energy equivalent to a 5-kiloton explosion. That`s a third the size of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, at the end of World War II.

NASA experts say fireballs that big occur about once a year but mostly go unseen over oceans or uninhabited areas.

Bureau Report

First Published: Thursday, April 26, 2012 - 10:36
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