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Thread: Mini-Van Sized Meteoroid Exploded Over California

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    Mini-Van Sized Meteoroid Exploded Over California

    Space Weather News for April 23, 2012
    http://spaceweather.com

    SIERRA FIREBALL DECODED: An explosion over California that rattled homes across at least two states on Sunday, April 22nd, has been analyzed by NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office: It was a natural meteoroid the size of a mini-van. Analysts say the space rock exploded in the atmosphere with an energy equal to nearly 4 kilotons of TNT and might have sprayed the Sierra Nevada mountains with meteorites. Visit http://spaceweather.com for more information.
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    If we knew about this before hand we would have had people running for the hills
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    Quote Originally Posted by Project View Post
    If we knew about this before hand we would have had people running for the hills

    If we had known about about it ahead of time, seems to me like heading for "the hills" (Sierra Nevada Mtns. that is) would not have been such a good idea. Now if a meteorite had hit downtown Podunk, that would be a whole different story!

    Last night at 1:25 a.m., we had a peal of lightening (I guess) that was really loud and jarring. Totally unexpected! I nearly jumped out of my chair and my dog had a little fit about it. I went outdoors to see what was going on and there were plenty of stars shining down at me. I checked two weather sites and really didn't get any info. What was that all about?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Dera View Post
    If we had known about about it ahead of time, seems to me like heading for "the hills" (Sierra Nevada Mtns. that is) would not have been such a good idea. Now if a meteorite had hit downtown Podunk, that would be a whole different story!

    Last night at 1:25 a.m., we had a peal of lightening (I guess) that was really loud and jarring. Totally unexpected! I nearly jumped out of my chair and my dog had a little fit about it. I went outdoors to see what was going on and there were plenty of stars shining down at me. I checked two weather sites and really didn't get any info. What was that all about?
    It could have been a meteor Dera, who knows? A loud 'jarring boom' out of a star filled sky doesn't sound like lightening... I hope the little white furry ball wasn't too upset. I had one of those loud shaky booms during the day last week. And as with you, it was a clear sky. Anyway, I'll bet people there are having fun tromping through the woods hunting for the remnants of that meteorite. I suspect we'll be having a lot more meteors that penetrate our magnetic shield in the future.


    Here's a little more info:
    2012-04-24

    Event: Event into space
    Location: USA States of Nevada and California Reno-Sparks area, Carson City, Minden, South Lake Tahoe, Placerville and Truckee

    A fiery meteor created a thundering explosion and traced a rare daylight fireball seen for about 600 miles across Nevada and California on Sunday, before apparently breaking up harmlessly at high altitude, astronomers said. NASA researchers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory said the midair explosion, centered over California's Central Valley east of the San Francisco Bay area, was the equivalent of the detonation of about 3.8 kilotons of TNT—about one quarter the energy released by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945. "The meteor was probably about the size of an SUV," said Donald Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office at the laboratory, in Pasadena, Calif. "This was a big one. An event of this size might happen about once a year, but most of them occur over the ocean or an uninhabited area." There were no reports Monday that any fragments of the object had reached the ground or caused any damage. No major telescope in the region tracked the early-morning fireball. NASA astronomers said the explosion might have been five to 10 miles high, which was high enough to let the sound spread widely.

    Each day, countless meteors reach Earth's atmosphere. Most are smaller than a grain of sand, according to the American Meteor Society, and usually burn up before they hit Earth's surface. Sunday's eye-catching event occurred at the height of the annual Lyrid meteor shower, which happens every April as Earth plows through the dust and debris trailing a comet called Thatcher. People have been observing its annual shower of shooting stars for more than 2,600 years. Astronomers usually expect about 20 meteors per hour during the Lyrid shower, with outbursts as high as 100 meteors per hour. Generally, comet debris can hit Earth's atmosphere at speeds as fast as 110,000 miles per hour. The heat from the friction of its descent into the denser air can ignite the dust and debris in a display of astronomical fireworks. Skywatchers have reported dazzling fireballs, like Sunday's, during Lyrid showers in previous years. In the far distant past, immense meteorites—meteors that slam into Earth—likely contributed to the demise of the dinosaurs. The largest meteorite found weighs nearly 60 tons. Called Hoba, it is an iron boulder thought to have landed about 80,000 years ago, in present-day Namibia. On rare occasions, the falling bits of space debris do hit now-populated areas. There is no record of anyone ever having been killed by a meteorite, but in recent years, there have been verified accounts of a meteorite hitting a bedroom in Alabama, a dining room in Connecticut and a parked car in Peekskill, N.Y.
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