Meteor Spotted Over Connecticut Was Big

By Bob Connors
|  Tuesday, Feb 15, 2011  |  Updated 1:00 PM EDT
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It appears the meteor that streaked across the skies above Connecticut Monday was bigger than first thought.

Hundreds in Connecticut reported seeing the massive fireball around 12:35 p.m. Monday afternoon. Others as far south as Philadelphia saw the space rock as well.

Philly.com reports experts say it may have been five feet in diameter and weighing more than five metric tons. NASA scientist Bill Cooke says it was probably traveling at a speed of 33,500 m.p.h. as it entered the Earth's atmosphere. "My crude estimate of the energy of this fireball is about 100 tons of TNT, which means it was capable of producing a crater 125 feet in diameter and about 15 feet deep," Cooke told Philly.com.

People who saw it say it was quite a sight. "I was crossing into Berlin just before Exit 22. It was a stream of silver and then a flash with crazy colors (blues and greens), Gina Montano said on Facebook. "Driving in Norwalk around 12:30, burning object with huge burning tail across horizon," @kgrogs said on Twitter.

"Most meteorites are no bigger than a grain of sand," Kristie Mazzoni, Director of the Travelers Science Dome at the Gengras Planetarium in West Hartford said. "But they are traveling at 40,000 to 60,000 miles per hour." Most meteorites are no bigger than that as they appear as "shooting stars" at night, according to Mazzoni.

Based on the thousands of accounts in the Northeast, Cooke says Monday's meteor most likely traveled over northern New Jersey and New York City and then out to sea. He says data from infrasound stations will give scientists a better estimate on the meteor by analyzing the sound waves emitted as it flew through the atmosphere, Philly.com reported.

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