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Great Ball of Fire! Meteor Streaks Across Western Pennsylvania

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A huge fireball that lit up the sky over western Pennsylvania was a meteor moving at approximately 45,000 mph. NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office says the space rock measuring 2 feet in diameter and weighing roughly 500 pounds entered Earth's atmosphere above the Pittsburgh suburbs around 4:50 a.m. Tuesday. It could be seen in Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio. NASA says cameras detected the rock at an altitude of 60 miles above Beaver Falls, northwest of Pittsburgh. It flared brighter than a full moon as it descended to an altitude of 13 miles above Kittanning, northeast of Pittsburgh. The agency says the meteor likely came from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

"There is a good chance of small fragments lying on the ground just to the east of Kittanning — at least four seismographs in the area recorded the pressure wave from the fireball and there are a few eyewitness reports of sonic booms around that time," WFMJ quoted William Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environments Office as saying. "These are typical indications that meteorites have landed nearby."

You can see more pictures of the fireball on the American meteor Society' website.

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— The Associated Press and NBC News staff

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