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Asteroid Streaks Across Western US Skies

2nd large meteor in 6 weeks. - As if the world wasn't already dangerous enough: A small asteroid or meteor entered earth's atmosphere overthe western US Wednesday night, traveling at a surprisinglyhigh speed of about a hundred thousand miles an hour.Theobject exploded with the force of 0.5 to 1 kiloton of TNT.It was so bright that it turned the sky blue. Shock wavesshook the ground from Colorado to Utah when it exploded. Theexplosion took place just after midnight in the area.Although the Leonid meteor shower is underway, the objectwas not part of it.

Six hours after the fireball, noctilucent clouds appeared inthe dawn sky. There had been no reported rocket launches,which may mean that the clouds were connected with the meteor.

A number of asteroids and other large objects are movingthrough the solar system at this time. Since July, largeimpacts have been recorded on Jupiter, in one of the ringsof Saturn and possibly on Venus. Earth has experienced twonear misses in the past few weeks, and one airburst of anasteroid over Indonesia on October 8. Like the Indonesianobject, there was no warning of the incoming western US meteor. Let's hope we start getting warnings about these space rocks before it's too late!

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