Four fireballs seen across the US in one day

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Great Balls of Fire! 4 Fireballs Across The US In One Day

It's not a bird or a plane --- no, it's a bunch of giant fireballs skating across the sky. Hundreds of people are reporting seeing great balls of fire across much of the eastern United States last night.

Four fireballs seen across the US in one day
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Four fireballs seen across the US in one day

The American Meteor Society reported that over the course of 24 hours there were "four large unique fireball events." The first three events occurred within just an hour and a half of each other -- around the Great Lakes, Tennessee and in the Mid Atlantic (right around New York City). The final one occurred over southern Florida.

"A fireball is another term for a very bright meteor, generally brighter than magnitude -4, which is about the same magnitude of the planet Venus as seen in the morning or evening sky," according to the AMS.

"The Tennessee fireball was caused by a 2-inch chunk of an asteroid moving at 46,300 miles per hour; the Michigan fireball was produced by a piece of a comet over 2 feet across, probably weighing around 40 pounds," says Dr. Bill Cooke who runs NASA's fireball network. "It hit Earth's atmosphere at a speed of 54,000 mph."

The AMS says multiple unique fireball occurrences in one day is rare and they encourage you to report them if you witness one on their website.

NASA's All-Sky Fireball Network has 15 cameras stationed across the country specifically to record and track fireball occurrences to help get a better understanding of the meteoroid environment which, in turn, helps when building spacecrafts.

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