Fireball Streaks Past New York

A fireball witnessed on the east coast of the United States has been ruled a meteor.

Over 600 people reported seeing the meteor, which flew over the area near New York City.

The sightings were spread out across the eastern seaboard, and observers reported seeing the space rock from North Carolina to Maine. Some saw it from as far inland as Ohio. The American Meteor Society reported the sightings.

Experts suggested that the bright flash reported by eyewitnesses was caused by a "single meteor event."

"Judging from the brightness, we're dealing with something as bright as the full moon," NASA's Bill Cook told ABC News. "This thing is probably a yard across. We basically have (had) a boulder enter the atmosphere over the northeast."

Cook works at NASA's Meteorid Environmental Office.

The meteor turned into a fireball when the object entered the atmosphere at an insanely high speed, when it burst into flame and burned up in the atmosphere. Small meteors enter Earth's atmosphere all the time, but most are too small to survive the high heat experienced during entry into the atmosphere. Almost all of these meteors burn up 10 to 20 miles above the surface.

This fireball comes a month after a meteor large enough to survive atmospheric entry crashed in Russia. The meteor injured injured over 1,000 citizens in western Siberia and created a shockwave that smashed the windows in the town of Chelyabinsk.

Last week, Charles Bolden of NASA lobbied politicians in Washington to increase funding to track meteors headed for Earth. When asked what we could do if a large meteor was headed towards a population center like New York City, Bolden responded "if it's coming in three weeks, pray."

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