Science & Technology
Giant fireball explodes over California
By T.K. Randall
April 27, 2012 · 4 comments
Image Credit: NASA
Tiny meteorites from an exploding fireball have been found scattered across northern California.
The fireball would have been a meteor approximately 4 to 5 billion years old and exploded with a force equivalent to one-third that of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima during World War II. While meteor events like this occur on a regular basis it is unusual for one to happen above a populated area.
"Getting to see one is something special," said NASA's Don Yeomans. "Most meteors you see in the night's sky are the size of tiny stones or even grains of sand, and their trail lasts all of a second or two."
The rocks each weighed about 10 grams, or the weight of two nickels, said John T Wasson, a longtime professor and expert in meteorites at UCLA's Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics.
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