Written by News 1st
12 Dec, 2013 | 9:11 am
A resounding boom over Tucson, Arizona, roused residents from their dinner tables Tuesday and had them pointing up to the sky.
With the largest meteor shower of the year around the corner, the heavens seemed to be giving them a sneak preview. A whopper of a fireball roared over their heads and exploded, rattling their houses.
A dash cam captured it on video.
Watch carefully as it vanishes in a bright blaze.
The spectacular annual Geminid meteor shower kicks into high gear Thursday night, NASA said, and people around the world will be able to enjoy it.
Some of its meteors have already been dashing through Earth’s atmosphere. The agency recorded nine of them Tuesday night.
But the Tucson meteor did not appear to be one of them, said NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke, who analyzed the flying space rock after two NASA cameras in Arizona recorded it on video.
Traveling at 45,000 mph, it was too slow.
“A Geminid moves at 78,000 mph,” he said. And the direction it came from was not typical for a meteor from the big shower.
The Arizona fireball was just one of the handful of “sporadic background” meteors that whiz through the atmosphere every day.
But this was a big one, Cooke confirmed. It weighed about 100 pounds and was about 16 inches thick. It made quite a bright flash, as it burned up in the atmosphere.
Even with 100 to 120 meteors per hour coming down during its peak on Friday and Saturday, the Geminid shower now has a tough act to follow.
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