US Residents Watch As Asteroid Hits Earth And Creates Bright Fireball Event

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Asteroid
The passage of asteroid 2012 DA14 through the Earth-moon system, is depicted in this handout image from NASA. Reuters/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Handout

Residents from various states in the U.S. spotted a bright fireball streaking across the night sky. Based on eyewitness reports, the fireball was most likely caused by a small asteroid colliding with Earth and burning up in the atmosphere.

According to the data gathered by the American Meteor Society, the incident occurred on March 25 at around 10:40 p.m. EDT. In total, the organization received seven eyewitness reports from different individuals.

As noted in the reports, the recent fireball event was spotted by residents from different states in the U.S. such as Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New York. Many of them noted that the fireball appeared brightly in the sky.

A resident named Lee R. from Langhorne, Pennsylvania stated that the fireball appeared to have changed colors. Unfortunately, since it passed through clouds, he did not see the other colors of the cosmic object.

An eyewitness from Pennsylvania named Dan D. reported that he saw how the fireball changed colors. He believed this occurred when the object entered Earth’s atmosphere.

“I’ve seen shooting stars and this was definitely not the same,” he stated in his report. “It looked like one at first, but then it popped colors, mainly blue when it seemed to me to have entered the atmosphere (I have no experience here so cannot say, but it seemed to have hit some threshold which caused a illumination of color) and it was traveling away from me, north I believe and it just quickly faded away.”

According to the International Meteor Organization (IMO), fireball events occur when an asteroid hits Earth, which then turns into a meteor. Due to the size and impact velocity of the cosmic object, it burns up in Earth’s atmosphere and turns into a bright fireball.

The organization noted that asteroids or meters with a diameter larger than 1 millimeter are capable of causing fireballs. This piece of information coincides with the size of the object recently spotted by residents in the U.S. According to an eyewitness, the object appeared to be as big as a softball.

“As the size of these objects approach a millimeter, they begin to produce enough light to be seen upon entry to the upper atmosphere as ordinary meteors,” the IMO stated. “Due to the velocity at which they strike the Earth’s atmosphere, fragments larger than 1 millimeter have the capability to produce a bright flash as they streak through the heavens above."

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