Nightly News   |  March 23, 2013

Meteor flashes in the sky

A meteor put on a spectacular show Friday as it entered the atmosphere on the East Coast. NBC’s Michelle Franzen reports.

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>>> it was something else in the sky last night that had a lot of people talking today. a meteor put on a spectacular show as it entered the atmosphere on the east coast . more on that tonight from nbc's michelle franzen .

>> reporter: the dazzling fireball caught the eyes and awes of people up and down the east coast friday night. photographer bill mckim aimed his camera over the skies of new jersey's battered coastline, hoping to capture his dream shot.

>> when i brought it up, okay, this is great. this is better than what i thought i would get.

>> reporter: in maryland the security cameras also recorded a flash of light, and professional gazers described the fireball bigger than a volleyball, and as bright as a full moon .

>> it was thick and green and there were little pieces of light that were falling off of the sides. and it just flashed for a second and it was gone.

>> reporter: the american meteor society says it received a record number of reports, more than 1,000, from witnesses in 15 states, washington, d.c., and canada, friday night.

>> this is almost unprecedented for an astronomical event so this is one of the first times in which people have communicated using social media .

>> twitter was also ablaze with comments. one person said a little scary. others posted craziest thing i've ever seen, and definitely the highlight of my life. in february a meteor was spotted in the california sky. a blueish flash of light in the bay area . and the world was stunned by the huge meteorite explosion over the skies of russia. the force of the blast damaging buildings, and injuring more than 1,000 people. experts say the spectacles are common. but all appear to be unrelated.

>> they're all random events.

>> random events that are rare to witness.

>> kind of bummed that i missed seeing it with my eyes. because it had to be something.

>> reporter: and breathtaking moments that are even harder to capture. michelle franzen , nbc news, new york.