Huge Meteor Misses East Coast

Space rock caused rare daytime fireball

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 16, 2011 4:45 AM CST

(Newser) – A meteor big enough to have ruined a lot of people's Valentine's Day streaked over the East Coast earlier this week, creating a rare daytime fireball. Large numbers of people from Connecticut to Philadelphia reported seeing the meteor, which by some accounts was as bright as the sun. Most meteorites are the size of a grain of sand, but experts believe this one was up to 5 feet across.

"My crude estimate of the energy of this fireball is about 100 tons of TNT, which means it was capable of producing a crater 125 feet in diameter and about 15 feet deep," a NASA scientist tells MSNBC. Judging from the direction it was headed—and the fact that no colossal meteor smashes were reported on the East Coast—experts believe the meteor crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. (Luckily, we just missed being hit by an asteroid, too: Click for that story.)

The space rock could have created a large and deep crater if it had hit land, experts say.
The space rock could have created a large and deep crater if it had hit land, experts say.   (Shutter Stock)
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When you see something that bright streaking across the daytime sky, it's definitely a meteor. - Bill Cooke, head of NASA's
Meteoroid Environment Office

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