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Meteor Crosses East Coast Sky; Concerns Grow Among Scientists [VIDEO]

Update Date: Mar 23, 2013 02:31 PM EDT
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A large meteor crossed east coast skies Friday evening, according to several reports which were backed by the American Meteor Society.

At around 8 o’clock in the evening, several people reported seeing a bright flash of moving light crossing the sky. Following these reports, pictures and videos immediately flooded the social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

According to Bill Cook of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office, the flash appeared to have been caused by a “single meteor event.”

“Judging from the brightness, we’re dealing with something as bright as the full moon,” Cooke revealed. “The thing is probably a yard across. We basically have (had) a boulder enter the atmosphere over the northeast.”

The American Meteor Society reported more than 600 sightings, all the way from Maine to North Caroline and as far inland as Ohio.

According to ABC News, as it crossed the lower atmosphere the meteor was flying at about 6 times the speed of sound. While “fireball” meteors enter the atmosphere every day, according to the American Meteor Society nearly all meteors burn up between 10 to 20 miles above the Earth’s surface.

This event brings to memory similar episode occured last month in Russia when a meteor crashed into the western Siberia, injuring over 1,000 residents. Which begs the question of whether there’s something we can do as far as working out a system of alert that can allow people to evacuate or take precautionary measures before a meteor hit. Scientists are looking into it.

Not only scientists. 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.

But there’s still a long way to go as far as seeing a plan taking shape to deal with this danger. 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.”

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