Meteor Lights Up East Coast

By Gillian Mohney

Mar 23, 2013 1:06pm

A bright flash in the sky lit up East Coast tweeters and bloggers experts believe a large meteor passed across the night sky.

The meteor was seen from Maine to North Carolina and as far inland as Ohio, according to the American Meteor Society, which has reported more than 600 sightings.

Around 8 p.m. on Friday night, multiple people started to report seeing a brief very bright and colorful light.  Videos and pictures of the event quickly clogged Facebook pages and Twitter accounts.

Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environments Office told ABCNews.com the flash was most likely caused by a “boulder-sized space rock” that was a yard in diameter.

As the meteor entered the atmosphere over eastern Pennsylvania, it turned into a flying fireball traveling faster than a speeding bullet. Although the flashing lights in the sky were dramatic, Cooke says the meteor is not cause for alarm.

“People have no reason to be scared, this is normal activity for this time of year,” said Cooke. “This is not a portent for an asteroid.”

ap east coast meteor jt 130323 wblog Meteor Lights Up East Coast

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Cooke says there are 100 similar incidents every year that happen across the globe. According to the American Meteor Society nearly all meteors burn up between 10 to 20 miles above the Earth’s surface.

Last month a meteor crashed into the western Siberia region of Russia, injuring over 1,000 residents.

In  a hearing on Capitol Hill last week, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden lobbied lawmakers for additional funding to build telescopes that would be able to track dangerous meteors before they entered Earth’s atmosphere.

When asked by Rep. Bill Posey what NASA would do if a meteor was headed to New York City in three weeks, Bolden answered, “If it’s coming in three weeks, pray.”

The Associated Press has contributed to this report.

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