NASA: Meteor over California and Nevada was size of minivan
Sunday's fireball is seen in photo taken in Reno, Nevada.
April 25th, 2012
11:32 AM ET

NASA: Meteor over California and Nevada was size of minivan

What would your Honda Odyssey or Dodge Grand Caravan look like falling to the Earth from space?

Probably a lot like the picture above.

The picture taken in Reno, Nevada, on Sunday morning shows a meteor the size of a minivan plunging through the Earth's atmosphere, according to Bill Cooke of the Meteoroid Environments Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Of course, this would have been one heavy minivan. Cooke said it weighed about 154,300 pounds. Your minivan probably weighs in at about 4,000 pounds.

It was that size and weight that made the fireball visible in the daylight, according to NASA scientists. It was seen from Sacramento, California,ย in the north to Las Vegas in the south.

"Most meteors you see in the night's sky are the size of tiny stones or even grains of sand and their trail lasts all of a second or two," NASA's Don Yeomans said in a press release. "Fireballs you can see relatively easily in the daytime and are many times that size."

Even then, count yourself lucky if you got to see it, said Yeomans, of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

"An event of this size might happen about once a year," he said. "But most of them occur over the ocean or an uninhabited area, so getting to see one is something special."

The meteor disintegrated before hitting the ground, releasing the energy of a five-kiloton explosion in the process, according to the NASA release.

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    November 21, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  2. Ike

    There was one that flew over New York City on November 15, 1859. It exploded over New Jersey. The explosion sounds lasted over a minute. Freaked people out!

    November 5, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
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  6. nice

    that pic was photoshoped that wasn't real.

    April 27, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  7. bigdon75

    WOW!!!!!!!!!!!! So many experts here, i don't understand why you people are not running the country??? Mind boggling to me.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  8. Keith

    Go to youtube and search Utah meteor 2009 and you will see video clips of peoples security cameras displaying a huge flash in the middle of the night, November 18, 2009. This was about 40 miles west of Salt Lake, and exploded above the ground, and broke up just like the mini-van sized one in California. Chunks are out there, waiting to be found...

    April 26, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
  9. ebs

    Things like this is why we don't need government. They are supposed to be watching our skies and keeping us safe from things like this. They are supposed to be conducting inspections on our food and monitoring infectious diseases to keep us from getting sick. They are supposed to be defending our borders and yet illegal aliens land in our country in meteors!!

    Cut the government! We don't need it, let private corporations do it.

    April 26, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • Hoosierdog

      Is this satire? I cannot tell. I hope it is.

      April 26, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • ryan

      I totally agree! We need to stop the illegal importation of illegal aliens via meteorites by the US government. It's not right what they do to those poor, poor creatures post-landing. They're people too! (kinda) They have rights just like the rest of us do! As such I see no other option besides the dissolution of the US government and transfer of the power to Canada. POUTINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      April 26, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  10. Riss

    I was driving from Vegas to LA on Sunday morning and thought I was witnessing a plane crash or something–I thought the white light was the sunlight reflecting. It happened so fast, none of my friends saw it, so I thought maybe I was just seeing things! We didn't hear the big boom or feel the earth shake, but I'm so glad I got to be one of the lucky few to see it. Luckily not the highlight of my Vegas adventure, but it was certainly a nice way to wrap it up ;).

    April 25, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
  11. jdoe

    It appears that Newt Gingrich's attempt at creating a moon colony has failed.

    April 25, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  12. angel611

    I told my friend that twin turbos on a Corvette engine using nitro he put in his minivan, was too much power.
    Now look what happened.
    We miss him.

    April 25, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • noway

      no one turbo's a corvette... silly

      April 25, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
      • Alex Gessong

        Google "twin turbo Corvette" to see some. Not as fast as a meteor, but beautiful even when not in motion.

        April 26, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  13. Mike

    I had a Dodge Van like that a while back. Traded it in for an Odyssey.

    April 25, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
  14. Piranha

    Meteoritemen must be salivating over this one, wait for the series and see if they found any. Hope they're not meteor wrong.

    April 25, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  15. TK

    There was a massive meteor explosion in 1908 in Siberia, if anyone doubts that meteors can explode

    April 25, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • LightnDarkness

      Uh, that wasnt a meteor...Do more research, it was an Unidentified Flying Object that exploded in the atomosphere. Children with 6 toes are still reportedly born today in the same region.

      April 26, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
      • Alex Gessong

        6 toes are a natural mutation in humans. The UFO was not carrying E.T. Plain old meteor or small comet.

        April 26, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  16. krumple

    I like how they say this event happens about once a year. There was just a meteor on the east coast this year that was able to be seen from D.C. to New York. Is the sky falling? Are we about to be pelted with something huge? Wonder what the Mayans would say.

    April 25, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • ric


      April 26, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
      • Alex Gessong

        Scientists discovered global warming, not Al Gore. Minivan sized meteors are interesting, but not as interesting as melting glaciers and rising sea levels.

        April 26, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • Alex Gessong

      The Mayans would say they need a new calendar. If the Mayans were right about the end of the world, they were right about their religion, too, in which case we should all be worshiping a giant feathered serpent god.

      April 26, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  17. Cyg

    Hopefully it crashed into Dick Cheney's house.

    April 25, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Mike

      I guess I need to pray some more. I got the flaming rock, but it didn't impact in the san andreas fault like I asked for. Drat!

      April 25, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • JimJam

      So much hate, so little tolerance..

      April 25, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
  18. James Boyd

    Running into some junk-clearly saw daytime trail of another object for a few seconds recently-don't expect to be extinct
    too soon Do like the excitement. Seems this object should have been tracked as it was somewhat large?!

    April 25, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Yossarian

      Compared to a lot of objects in the solar system, this rock was tiny. Also, the reality is that most space rocks that get tracked close to Earth aren't picked up until they're very, very close. A tiny object far away is very difficult to detect.

      April 25, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  19. Interesting

    Isn't Area 51 between Sacramento and Las Vegas????

    April 25, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Al

      Isn't your brain the size of a walnut????

      April 25, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
      • Smitty

        ..and your sense of humor is non-existent.

        April 25, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  20. A$$teroid

    whew, that was a close call. Glad it blew up before it hit earth, that's all we need is another roid on this planet.

    April 25, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  21. Margee432

    In 1965 I say a fireball in the twilight. It looked from a distance like the moon but it was orange and it moved SLOW. I also zigzagged. I went across the sky over a bunch of trees in a grove and sank out of sight. I never found out for sure. But when I called the police they said it was a metor.

    April 25, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • eddy chorizo

      I saw one too about that time. I live in calif. It was going south to north and seemed like it expolded over san francisco bay. I found it was a rocket from vandenberg that was outta of control after launching about 250miles down the coast.

      April 25, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
      • tomcat1346

        That might be the same "meteorite" I remember seeing. In 1965 when I was in the Navy, I was attending Radar "A" school at Treasure Island. I had night watch one night and I happened to be looking south from Treasure Island toward San Francisco.
        I then saw what I assumed to be a meteorite over San Francisco.
        To me, it looked like it was travelling from east to west.
        When it was right over San Fran (from my perspective) it broke into three pieces.

        August 10, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  22. yoyoyyoyoy


    April 25, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • sayitstr8r

      that ain't no meteor, baby. That's the famous Me First Gingrich Mendacity Ball of Ear Wax flaming out. And, along with him, the rest of the GOP baloney machine. Don't believe me? Start listening to Romney for real, get the wax out of yr ears, and vote a real American into office: the O man.

      PS – I am a republican who found the debates very enlightening – i mean repugnant! shallow! absurd! childish. let's get a real man in there again.

      April 25, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
      • Joe Sharp


        April 25, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
      • JimiJoni

        It's time for your meds now.

        April 25, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
      • Yossarian

        Let's get a real brain into sayitstr8r's head.

        April 25, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
      • Alex Gessong

        Dude, you can't be a Republican, because Republicans don't like science. Evolution? Ha! Earth is 4.5 billion years old? Ha! Real Republicans know that the Earth is flat, the center of the universe, and 6,000 years old.

        April 26, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  23. George Busch

    154,000 pounds of iron ore disintegrated after traveling through the atmosphere. Seriously???

    So when someone finds a baseball sized rock that fell from the sky are we to assume it was the size of a Greyhound bus when it first hit the atmosphere? When the shuttle came down there were pieces for hundreds of miles and it's whieght was 165,000 pounds – and it wasn't a big lump or iron. So what was this – really?

    April 25, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • FallenZen

      You're forgetting to consider trajectories. Something the size of a human with all the mass of iron, on the right trajectory, will survive the transition from space travel to atmospheric travel fairly easily. That same item, however, would break apart and disintegrate nearly instantaneously if it were to, say, smack straight into the atmosphere.

      Think of it like two cars on the road. If they sideswipe each other, they trade paint but are relatively unharmed. If those same two cars hit in a head-on collision, suddenly wheels are flying every which way and people are going to the hospital and/or morgue.

      April 25, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Jerry A.

      Mr. Busch,
      Yes, you did understand that small meteors that hit the Earth start out as larger ones outside of the atmosphere. There are asteroids up to hundreds of miles in diameter (look up "Ceres"), but most meteorites are tiny. You completely missed the point about the crashed space shuttle. The Columbia was covered in heat-resistant tiles, and was slowing down to re-enter the atmosphere in a controlled fashion at a shallow angle in order to land. Meteors are traveling a lot faster and come in at different angles, so the heat generated by atmospheric friction is much higher. If a shuttle were to lose all of its' protective tiles and come in at the same higher speed and angle as a meteor, then it would probably burn up. As it was, just losing a critical patch of tiles on a (I believe) leading wing edge, caused the shuttle to break up. See the difference? [I hope you were really interested in an answer, not just one of those fact-resistant conspiracy theorists.]

      April 25, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
      • conoclast

        Thanks for the clear-headed explanation - and God save us from the 'fact-resistant'!

        April 25, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Tex71

      The Space Shuttle wasn't going 50,000 mph either. At that speed, nothing stays in one piece for long once it enters the atmosphere. Even really big meteors lose a lot of mass due to friction – kind of like sandblasting but faster. If they are big enough, there is still a chunk that slams into the ground. If it enters the atmosphere the size of a Greyhound bus, you get a basketball-sized meteorite at the bottom of a crater. If it enters the atmosphere the size of Texas, everything burns to a crisp and dies and Earth starts over again.

      April 25, 2012 at 4:58 pm |



      April 25, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Troy

      Yep, you caught them, that was really a test of a brand new super-duper top secret weapon. They thought the best way to keep it secret was to make it plainly visible over a huge section of California and LAS VEGAS! Yes sir, they is real good-like at that secrety stuff.

      April 25, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • deadspam

      154000 lb. = 69853224.98 g * 299998 m/sec^2 = 6.286706424609437e+18 ergs of energy. a 5-7kT blast, like they said.

      Depending on how complete the conversion was, there could be just dust to pieces weighing 100s of pounds in the strewn field.


      April 25, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • dave

      couple of quick question for you: where was Obama born? Moon landing, real or faked?

      April 26, 2012 at 10:43 am |
      • Alex Gessong

        Kudos, Dave! ๐Ÿ™‚

        April 26, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
      • tomcat1346

        Reply to your two questions:
        1. Hawaii

        August 10, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  24. Fritz

    Probably a stoner, or mostly stone or carbon. An iron chunk as big as a minivan would have made a nice hole in the ground.

    April 25, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  25. AZ Sky Watcher

    Well... Not really... that meteor wasn't as big as a minivan... have you ever seen a match on fire? .. the flames coming out of that match make the match appear to be 50 times it's actual size.. well, that's the same effect of a burning rock falling out of the sky.. perhaps not in the same proportion, but let's say it's like an optical illusion.. it only appears to be big. Had the meteor been that big, it would've been easy to spot the landing site.. did someone find it? ... NOPE!!

    April 25, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Kevin

      Size estimates are most likely based on measurements of the energy of the explosion that presumably occurred while the object was still flying through the air. The rock would not be found at the landing site because there most likely wasn't one. Objects of this size tend to burn up or explode before reaching the ground

      April 25, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • moeliss

      AZ Sky Watcher, you are more knowledgable than the scientists at NASA?

      April 25, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
      • steve_spyder

        the scientists at nasa got confused with metric/imperial measurments a few years back on one of their mars probes. 100 million dollars down the drain cause someone didnt triple check.

        April 26, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • Kevin

      Basically, what I'm trying to say is they didn't come up with the size figure from the picture featured in this article. It was probably not based on just looking at the size of the flame.

      April 25, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Uncle Dave

      They never said it ENDED that big, slick. They said it was that big WHEN IT ENTERED THE ATMOSPHERE. Do yo know nothing about meteors? Most slough off all of their material before hitting the ground, which is why there are so few impact craters on the surface of the Earth, and why they make an incandescent streak of light as they pass through the atmosphere.

      April 25, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Dave

      AZ Sky Watcher, you couldn't possibly watch much if you know so little about such things. Nobody said it "looked" like a minivan .. they said it was the size of a minivan. The weight estimate came from trajectory and energy calculations, and if you think that 77 tons of rock can be packed into something smaller than the size of a minivan I hope you aren't breeding.

      April 25, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
      • AZ Sky Watcher

        Ask your mom.. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        April 25, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  26. Charlie

    There you have, more proof of Global Warming!

    April 25, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • justin opinion

      Yes, but that was a really, really, small planet.

      April 25, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  27. Samuel R. Preston, III

    I feel really bad for this meteor; my thoughts go out to its family who must be suffering horribly at this time. There is no pain like this kind of loss and I can't even imagine what they are going through right now.

    April 25, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • justin opinion

      It's their fault for letting him play so close to gravity.

      April 25, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • E

      ROFL well Samuel you just made me spit water all over my keyboard. Well played sir, well played.

      April 25, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
      • grege

        Maybe N Korea got their satellite into (low – too low) orbit after all.

        April 25, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Coflyboy

      As the right would say: Obama's fault.

      April 25, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
      • Shawn

        Or as the left would say...Blame it on Bush

        April 25, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
      • Yossarian

        Or as those of us who actually enjoy science would say, this isn't a political article so keep the political pseudohumor out of it.

        April 25, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  28. j0eschm0e

    it was probably a satellite, size of a minivan. just good excuse to cover it up, until someone finds the wreckage and spills the story.

    April 25, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Lucas

      There IS no wreckage. The entire thing burned up. Do people not read the article before posting?

      April 25, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
      • grege

        Hey, the article said it "Disintegrated" like Discovery "Disintegrated", not burned up. But they didn't say where the inevitable pieces may have struck Earth. Discovery's pieces were scattered over a very large but definable area.

        April 25, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  29. justin opinion

    Homeland Security Attack Drone looking for teenagers smoking weed.

    April 25, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  30. Phil

    Actually, it was being filmed by Hollywood...a remake of Superman, as a baby in a rocket capsule from planet Krypton.

    April 25, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  31. Phil

    It was a Klingon Bird of Prey spun out of control from one of Enterprise's phasors.

    April 25, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • McCoy

      Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor not a weapons technician.

      April 25, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  32. kerry

    What about a Ford Aerostar, was it the size of that?

    April 25, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • justin opinion

      NO! Definitely not.

      April 25, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  33. Bagger

    No need for panic, Rosie O'Donnell dared another sucker to pull her finger..

    April 25, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  34. gatecrasher1

    That meteor had Obama's real birth certificate attached to it. Oh well. Guess we'll never know.

    April 25, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • j0eschm0e

      yup a cover up, it was a satellite not a meteor. just like the cover up on obamas birthplace. which was in kenya.

      April 25, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
      • Scott Wimmer

        Since you believe that garbage, I have a bridge in New York for sale. Or better yet, I'm a Prince of Nigeria, send me your bank account info and I'll make you a millionaire.

        April 25, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  35. TooFunny

    these are the best comments I've read in a long time! Thanks for the laugh.

    April 25, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  36. dustball ball hole in the ground

    missed l.a. darn!

    April 25, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  37. Boater39

    It's a good thing it didn't make it to the ground being that large... If it did, many of us might not be here to post about it....

    April 25, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  38. Ron Burgandy?

    By the beard of Zeus!

    April 25, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Seraphim0

      Odin's Raven!

      April 25, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • PlayerMom

      Thor's Hammer!

      April 25, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Yossarian

      By Grabthar's hammer, by the Sons of Warvan, you shall be avenged!

      April 25, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  39. chancygardener

    About 2 a.m. (after the bar closed) while driving home, a bright light appeared a little above the horizon. It hurtled south above the tree tops leaving a long tail of fire behind – and then it broke into five smaller balls of fire. Then the car behind me started honking cause I was going really slow to watch the light show. I sped up and diverted my attention again to the road but when I looked back at the sky, the lights were gone – but not forgotten. That was over 30 yrs ago !

    April 25, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  40. soicanleavecommentsonblogs

    Why didn't our protective shield destroy it?

    April 25, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • THOR

      You mean S.H.I.E.L.D.
      Get it right, you weakling

      April 25, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  41. David M

    I wonder if N. Korea TV got a shot of this and put it on their evening news, saying it was really the rocket they launched last week? Don't put it past them.

    April 25, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  42. THOR

    Mjolnir! MJOLNIR!

    April 25, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Scionical

      Congratulations, Thor, you've just won yourself one shiny new Internet for the day.

      April 25, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • THOR


      April 25, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • justuandme

      Maybe its just the geek in me, but I thought this your comment was hilarious.

      April 25, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • THOR

      I need a horse!

      April 25, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Pet store guy

      yeaah, we just got dogs and cats

      April 25, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Mario Ohio

      Too heavy for Mjolnir. Must've been a Decepticon.

      April 25, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • j0eschm0e

      mjolnir?? sounds russian, must be obama in kahoots with em

      April 25, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
      • George Busch

        That simple line was far too difficult for you to comprehend. You should just shut the heII up unless you have something worthwhile to contribute – which you obviously don't. The line was hilarious, yours was just pathetic.

        April 25, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  43. goober

    I've seen 4-door sedan-sized meteors, but never a minivan-sized one.

    April 25, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • justin opinion

      I saw an Oprah sized meteor once. It was big, then small, then big again. But it was okay with it.

      April 25, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
      • NeauxDoubt

        That's funny Justin.

        April 25, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  44. Ray

    I saw a large fireball while sitting on my front porch here in East Texas when I was about 12 or 13. Of course, no-one believed me. lol And like DavidP said. I still remember it like it was yesterday.

    April 25, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  45. Hasher Iva

    A meteor estimated at 154,000 pounds disintegrated? No meteorites came out of it? Are you kidding me?

    April 25, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • j0eschm0e

      yeah the flase info keeps the masses out of the governments business while they search for it.

      April 25, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
      • j0eschm0e


        April 25, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  46. Andrew

    Is this the meteor that appeared at the end of the movie 'Cloverfield'???

    April 25, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  47. AlligatorAlogorie

    Just waiting for someone to blame Obama....

    April 25, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Chopperguy

      Too late, he already blamed bush

      April 25, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • iowafm

      Dont you mean it is bush's fault

      April 25, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Scionical

      This is exactly the kind of thing you can expect as long the OBAMACARE is responsible for monitoring Near Earth objects. His socialist policies have allowed countless tons of precious metals to simply disintegrate. Bush would have jumped on a place, roped the asteroid, and sent it to Earth intact to be mined, creating jobs in the process. Notice how the White House hasn't said anything about this? That's because the Muslim in Chief is to busy making deals with the Russians to close Guantanamo Bay, when he should be securing our sky border against these illegal alien rocks.

      (Does that about cover all of it? I tried to find some way to work Rush and Beck in, but couldn't bring myself to do so.)

      April 25, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
      • Pliny

        You forgot to mention JUSTICE FOR TRAYVON.

        April 25, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
      • Used to Facebook


        April 25, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
      • j0eschm0e

        google this, obama admits he is a muslim. and treyvon doesnt look like obamas son, cuz obama doesnt have a frac king son

        April 25, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
      • Alex Gessong

        Scionical: dude you are so confused. There's no such thing as Obamacare. The health insurance reform law was written in Congress, not by the President. As for "socialist" policies there haven't been any. The President ensured the survival of the bastions of American Capitalism: the big Wall Street banks and the U.S. auto industry. You conservatives don't believe in science, so why are you posting here? Evolution is real, Earth is 4.5 billion years old, and melting glaciers means that the Earth is getting warmer. These are realities. Political rhetoric is no match for it.

        April 26, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • heroicslugtest

      Pfft... This was obviously ...Obushma's... fault.

      /cyclic redundancy error

      April 25, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  48. topfuel500

    We were at Woodward Reservoir, Ca. packing up the trailer to come home when I looked up to see this massive fireball burning metallic white with pieces breaking off and making a crackling sound. I've seen some pretty big meteors but never like this one or so close, and I have never heard one, I'm a fossil and rock hound and love seeing this stuff in action.

    April 25, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • esoteric1

      Wow very lucky and very cool!

      April 25, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Me

      I saw the same thing in CA north of Los Angeles last Friday at around 11 pm

      April 25, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  49. carlyjanewg

    April 25, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • JEC

      That is laughable, and has nothing to do with the article. K, thanks.

      April 25, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • esoteric1

      ya.... your an f' n psycho

      April 25, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • nothanks

      No thanks churchy, I'll take my chances.

      April 25, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • j0eschm0e

      my sound dont work

      April 25, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • justin opinion

      don't you mean: Hear the stuff we made up to con old people out of their money and rape little boys dot com?

      April 25, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  50. Mojo Jack

    It was about as big as a defunct falling satellite that no one keeps track of anymore.

    April 25, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  51. Jon

    How big was it again?

    April 25, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • fixedarrow

      It was the sizie of a small dinosaur turrdd!!!

      April 25, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • fixedarrow

      It was the sizie of a small dinosaur turrd!!!

      April 25, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • AlligatorAlogorie

      It was as big as 14 alligators and a chicken tied to a telephone pole, all filled with tungsten and lit on fire.

      April 25, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
      • MVH

        WTH??? That is friggin funny!!! Thanks for the laugh.

        April 26, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  52. Bill

    I love the Northern lights! This is a beautiful example.

    April 25, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • School time

      Except that this has nothing at all to do with them.

      April 25, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • pointless1

      I love pigs in space.....

      April 25, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • esoteric1

      don't be stupid

      April 25, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • IAMTheNorthernLights

      Thanks, Bill!

      April 25, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Scionical

      The Northern Lights are large amount of solar radiation interacting with Earth's magnetic field. This was a giant chuck of rock falling from the freaking sky. Slight difference.

      April 25, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  53. Andres Conde

    Reminds me of Spaceballs! LOL.. Big deal..

    April 25, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • John

      Good for you for using your real name after such a stu!pid comment. Bravo, Andres.

      April 25, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
      • Rudolph

        His name comes before the stupid comment... just saying. I wonder if princess vespa gives good helmet..

        April 25, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Fossilnerd1969

      Prepare for ludicrous speed.....

      April 25, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
      • j0eschm0e

        haha I did ludicrous speed before. after I got stopped from speeding, the officer said I was ludicrous

        April 25, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
      • Yossarian

        All out of plaid, sorry.

        April 25, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  54. Nor Chase

    TY 4 Getting me on this bus..Sized Meteor

    April 25, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  55. Ben

    Probably a bunch of hippies from the 60s in a Microbus coming back down to Earth.

    April 25, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  56. Guest

    Question is: Did we know this one was coming or was it, 'Hey, what's that?'

    April 25, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • fixedarrow

      r u kiddin? Did Bush II know when the shoes were about to be thrown at him???

      April 25, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
      • jlec

        Really.....still hung up on Bush

        April 25, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
      • Misterfids

        WHY NOT..? This country is STILL ON IT'S KNEE'S & recovery is not assured BECAUSE OF ONE MAN .... GW BUSH
        and his "mandate" to "Spend Political Capital" and the NATIONS FORTUNE on war against a country that POSED NO THREAT to the USA... Do you recommend that the ENTIRE COUNTRY do what the GOP cheerleaders are doing REMAIN IN DENIAL over the OBVIOUS FACTS ..?
        This country started SINKING 1 year before the 2008 Elections after 6 years of STEADY JOB LOSSES

        April 25, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
      • j0eschm0e

        hey mister ed, hee hawww, azz, obama had 3.5 years of do nothing but sink us 3X further than bush did so get over yourself. we were in debt 4 trillion after bush, now we are pushing 16 trillion. do the math, obama is the worst president ever. and you know what, it is obamas plan to ruin this country. google thisd obama admits he is a muslim. and now he is trying to swoon the younger voters? why because he cant get elected with the adult crowd, because they SEE what he is doing??? please stop reading headlines and read in depth into the story before doing anything ever again.

        April 25, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
      • Seraphim0

        Hey, Joe... I hate to break it to you, but you know that the jobless rate has improved, stocks have been going up for the last year or so toward recovery, and our exports have increased significantly.

        I know, I know. All of that doesn't sound as dramatic as "Obama wants to ruin the country," but I guess the truth is boring, eh?

        April 25, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
      • ThaGerm

        You understand that debt comes more from policies enacted many years ago much more than it does from policies enacted recently yes? No, um OK, but really it does. It's not a Dem Rep thing, its an it-is-what-it-is thing. The policies that are sinking us started with Regan and Alan Greenspan. Don't take my word for it, take Alan Greenspan's word for it, he came out in a press-conference and straight-up admitted "he was wrong, the market cannot and should not regulate itself". Again, not a Rep or Dem thing, just an it-is-what-it-is thing. Any economist worth their salt will tell you that it takes DECADES for the impact of many economic policies to surface. Sorry to throw all of this level-headed logic down in the middle of this rant, but somebody has to be an adult around here.

        April 25, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  57. fixedarrow

    just think if it had struck the Whitehouse in DC!!!

    April 25, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Me

      We will look for Aliens from planet Afghatron to invade and kill for terrorist action.

      April 25, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  58. scott

    how do they know?was she on the phone?

    April 25, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  59. angel611

    Just test missile from a Chinese sub off the California coast.
    They do it all the time.

    April 25, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Andrew

      They keep missing LA... can't we help them with that??

      April 25, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  60. gatecrasher1

    Missed San Fran-Freako, that sucks.

    April 25, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Telrock it could disintegrate before hitting the ground above it?

      April 25, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • jimbo

      Next meteor will be the trailer you're living in falling out of the sky.

      April 25, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  61. David

    Here's what I was thinking after treading through the first few grafs of this story: "Ok, OK, I get it - it was the size of a mini-van. I GET IT."

    It's unfortunate that the write couldn't get past this single phrase in slapping together this article.

    April 25, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • angel611

      But way smaller than a Yukon XL, or Expedition XL SUV.
      The size of a small mini van.

      April 25, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  62. Jeff

    So lets just be straight about this meteor, we pay our government to watch for this type of stuff, and they didn't know about it until after the fact. What would of happened if it hit us? The speed and the amount of weight would have damaged our world.

    April 25, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Claxton

      A number of near-Earth objects are not detected until they actually pass the Earth...So the fact that this minivan-sized rock didn't get discovered until now is no surprise...If it had been larger, say the size of a football field, then we're talking about a possible ground strike in the 50 to 100-megaton range – a city killer, if you will.

      April 25, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Manny

      We pay our government? Sounds a little like you expect the government to do everything for you?

      April 25, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
      • Vern

        Well I do have the toilet paper, so .......Yes

        April 25, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • troll finder

      you are a are a troll!

      April 25, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • fixedarrow

      I would not say that it would have damaged the WORLD, but it would leave a crater about the size of a football field coming in at about 10,000 mph. Of course the richter scale would have been shaken to some degree as well, so the effect of a small earthquake would be the resultant energy released.

      April 25, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
      • David

        ....but since objects of this size, including THIS ONE, disintegrate before reaching earth...what's your whining all about?

        April 25, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
      • fixedarrow

        @ David below...meteorites the size of a football or much smaller actually strike the earth everyday...they are just so remonte as to where they fall as to not affect many folks living in populated areas. Golfball sized meteorites are not that uncommon and are found frequently in Antarctica and in the OUTBACK of Australia with metal detectors quite often!

        April 25, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • PudninTane

      Except we don't pay them to do this, there's nothing they can do about it, and it wouldn't have changed our world. You're 0 for 3, smarty.

      April 25, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • MarcNJ

      Do us all a favor and close your mouth when you want to say something, it'll help keep the stupid in. And if you feel the need to type, don't.

      April 25, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • J.Crobuzon

      Ask for your money back. We just closed our space program, so complain to the Chinese.

      April 25, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • tim

      it did "hit" us. so you tell me what happened

      April 25, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Amused

      Jeff – Where on earth did you get the notion that "we pay our government to watch for this type of stuff"??? You couldn't be MORE wrong! The sad fact is that there are more people staffing a typical McDonald's restaurant than there are scientists looking for earth bound objects! We need to spend MUCH more money and effort on attempting to detect these potential earth impact objects than we currently do! But, because of ignorant people like you, there is no real public interest in spending the necessary tax dollars to detect potential earth impacts! Unless we make some radical changes to our current science funding priorities, it is HIGHLY UNLIKELY that we will have ANY advanced warning at all when the next large object impacts the earth! Think about it!

      April 25, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Harlequinn

      Well, our object collison budget's a million dollars. That allows us to track about 3% of the sky, and beg'n your pardon sir, but it's a big-ass sky." – Billy Bob Thornton in Armageddon

      April 25, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • cja

      NO we don't pay anyone to watch for stuff this small. This is a "small" one. So small it burned up before hitting the ground. The ones they look for a MUCH larger, the size of large buildings or mountains. All that said that is ALL they do is watch, if they find one there s nothing anyone can do. So you wonder "why watch/"

      April 25, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
      • Jerry Curl

        So if this "mini van sized" meteor burned up before hitting the ground, what size are the ones that do hit the earth. What size are they before they enter the atmnosphere? Is acceleration or velocity a factor in the meteor disintegration?

        April 25, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • andyo

      It's not like we could have done anything about it anyway, but this size meteor won't make it to the ground intact.

      April 25, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  63. Johnny 5

    It was the Feds lighting fireworks to fake celebrate the fake rise in employment in the U.S.

    April 25, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • ThaGerm

      Dang they can't get anything right. If you are going to fake something don't allow the fake numbers for March to dip by 40%. Duh!

      April 25, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  64. Bill

    Ought to be interesting movement from the sky between now and 12/21/12

    April 25, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Amused

      Bill, There "Ought to be interesting movement from the sky" of WHAT Bill???? Do you have any notion whatsoever what you are referring to? I didn't think so.

      April 25, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  65. rad666

    I read that it was the size of a Maxipad.

    April 25, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
  66. janerose

    Hope we make "contact with aliens" in my time. Goverment lies so much. Anything can happen and "anybody could be a kook", universe so huge, who knows?

    April 25, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
  67. Propervillain

    Wounded Cylon raider....

    April 25, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • Retired Army

      But wounded by......whow?

      April 25, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
      • scott

        whow?.........or do you mean who?

        April 25, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Yossarian

      By your command.

      April 25, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  68. CADMAN1

    Could it possibly be Applewhite and his followers behind the Hale Bop Coment?

    April 25, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • yep

      Of course... in their Honda Odyssey or Dodge Grand Caravan

      April 25, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  69. Kingofthenet

    Snoooooze, wake me up when we are talking 10 Million Megaton

    April 25, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Frank Tillery

      At that weight/size, there would not be anyone around to wake you.

      April 25, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  70. Jose Canusi

    It landed in my pool, it's goona be a hot summer.

    April 25, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  71. turd

    Obama's fault.

    April 25, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • j0eschm0e

      lol yeah its obamas fault, he shut down nasa, so we wasnt able to track that one. hope no one got killed.

      April 25, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  72. Doh!

    Lets give the Republicans a few seconds to blame the meteor on the Obama administration....

    April 25, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • GodisaMYTH

      Obama administration came out immediately saying this was Bush's fault.

      April 25, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • BC

      You mean like the Liberals & Obama blame everything on Bush?

      April 25, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
      • troll finder

        actually I've never seen the BOA blame anything but inheriting a crappy economy, so if that is what you perceive then you know it's true!

        April 25, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
      • nagrom

        No he said it right the first time. Every time something bad happens it was Obama's fault. Every time something good happens it was because of Ronnie Reagan or George W or some other moronic Repuke. I mean after all Obama was supposed to clean up Bush's eight years of BS in two years. GO FIGURE!!!

        April 25, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
      • jlec

        @ troll.......You are like the guy on the Geico know, the one under a ROCK. He blames Bush every day??????

        April 25, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  73. Fred

    What? No conspiracy theories about another North Korean rocket launch going awry? Come on, people.

    April 25, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • CatchRider

      "I swear baby...this has never happened to me before"
      – Kim Jung Un

      April 25, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  74. Lurker

    Vegeta needs to choose his landing zone more carefully. ๐Ÿ˜›

    April 25, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Sachin

      Jerry,A final thought. I eneetrd your location data for the first time, then re-eneetrd it and got the same result. Know you use the Cherry Springs site frequently and would have no reason to question the correct coordinates that you see from the website, but I once eneetrd a zero before a two digit coordinate and the website showed the correct longitude, but gave incorrect results. Is it possible that your location data might somehow be corrupted without your knowledge? Just a thought. You probably already have re-eneetrd you coordinates as a check, but since this happened to me in the past, the problem could confront others as well. Sorry for yet another e-mail, however, the results I get are so close to your image that I just had to give it one more try.Thanks again for your contributions to all of us who aspire to image the night sky [and day too!].Bob

      August 2, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
  75. batteryinme

    The replies made me laugh....thanks all. I keep thinking of the movie "Evolution"-life imitates art?

    April 25, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  76. TheBossSaid

    John Connor just went off the grid.

    April 25, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  77. Dawne this the second one that size that's fallen? Hmmm......

    April 25, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  78. PunDMC

    Dammit, DARPA...

    April 25, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  79. blah9999

    It was caused by global warming.

    April 25, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  80. Severhead

    I could handle that being the last thing I see....a ginormous minivan sized meteor falling on me. It's gotta be spectacular

    April 25, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      beats being hit by a flying toilet.

      April 25, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
      • Retired Army

        Or Toilet Seat.......

        April 25, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
      • Amused

        LOL!!! yeah... that was funny

        April 25, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  81. DPence

    I was in southern Oregon with my dad and we both saw this, so it was visible further north than Sacremento.

    April 25, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  82. Leslie

    So where did it crash? Or did it burn up before it hit the ground?

    April 25, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Evan I Skewup

      That's why it was called a meteor. If it hit the ground, it would be a meteorite. No worries :p

      April 25, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
      • Nemo

        Only if you find it. =)

        April 25, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Chris R

      They answer that question in the article. It burned up before it hit the ground.

      April 25, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  83. snowdogg

    "The meteor disintegrated before hitting the ground, releasing the energy of a five-kiloton explosion in the process,"

    Good thing it didn't impact the Earth's surface!

    April 25, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  84. DeeNYC

    Quick! someone go mine it for minerals

    April 25, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • DShadowind

      too funny

      April 25, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • kerry

      They were probably mining it when it went down.

      April 25, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  85. svann

    Which direction was it traveling, and what area did it blow up over?

    April 25, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Dr. K

      Down and California. Sheesh.

      April 25, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Cor

      It blew up over a town called Sonora. In a subdivision called Ridgewood. My parents live there.

      April 25, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  86. bob

    You all need to get a life...

    April 25, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • hmmm

      In the market; you selling?

      April 25, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • fixedarrow

      what r u doin wasting ur time blowin gas here???

      April 25, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  87. Look out!

    It was Ellen Jo's mom. I swear, that woman drives her Sienna through the Piggily Wiggily parking lot like a veritable maniac.

    April 25, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  88. ken

    if it was a meteor then why was there 4 fighter jets off the california coast chasing something?

    April 25, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • hmmm

      probably because their tin-foil hats were vibrating like yours is.

      April 25, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • TheMovieFan

      Do you have a link to a news report about that?

      April 25, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • True skinny.

      They weren't chasing anything. They were on a beer run.

      April 25, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
      • Art Fey

        For the Secret Service. The girls were getting pouty.

        April 25, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • T.A. Martin

      Because there are Air Force bases in California and there are fighter jets up in the air for training all the time? .. Just off the top of my head.

      April 25, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Andrea

      If fighter jets chased it that is not a surprise. Any time an unknown object zooms through our airspace we send jets just in case. Our military would not wait to get the keep us safe, they would act before they had NASA on the phone. Jets would also be useful to take photos and get the info back quickly if the meteor had hit the ground. If jets were in the area, they were just doing what they could to keep us all safe.

      April 25, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  89. Steve

    I saw the meteor a few weeks back that streaked over Texas and Oklahoma. I missed the earlier "green" phase (from reports) but saw it as a yellow fireball and as it started to break apart, from my car on northbound I-35 in Austin, Texas. I'm pretty happy to have had a chance to see one, as I never had before in 35 years.

    April 25, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  90. Pete

    Wish it landed on land I own. Probably could sell pieces to space enthusiasts et al for a lot.

    April 25, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Pete

      Well, if it hadn't disintegrated ๐Ÿ™‚

      April 25, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • hmmm

      a meteor the size of a van hitting earth would have made your land into a nice large bowl

      April 25, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
      • Retired Army


        April 25, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
      • Yossarian

        A bowl, or a garage? Hmm.

        April 25, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
  91. jim mccallum

    We are so reassured by the constant reports of various DOD and other tracking instruments and programs that keep track of all the articles (trash and otherwise) in space, down to the size of baseballs, but nobody seems to wonder why none of them saw this coming ...

    April 25, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Plus...

      "...about 154, 300 pounds..."

      NOT "about 150,000 pounds".

      Can they really estimate it that close?

      April 25, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
      • Robert

        Actually it weighed about 154,301.5 lbs.

        April 25, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
      • Yotes

        The original estimate was probably in kilograms (70,000 kg = 154,323.58 lbs) and converted to pounds for the general public, who aren't as accustomed to the metric system.

        April 25, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • LaLa

      They knew the comet was there & that there would be a meteor shower. It's not really possible to predict the size of the tail debris that will make it into our atmosphere.

      April 25, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • jarls

      They keep track of known ORBITING objects. Meteors fly in from beyond Earth's orbit or the Earth goes into their path.

      They don't track things they can't see. A minivan sized rock that doesn't give off its own light is not going to be seen until it is too close to the Earth to be too late.

      And something that size doesn't make it to the ground as that size. It would take something a lot bigger than that to make it to the ground at minivan size.

      April 25, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  92. Duane

    I am more amazed it didn't hit a populated area. Even though it disintegrated if it did this over San Fransisco for example it would have caused an amazing amount of damage.

    April 25, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Charles

      "amazing amount of damage"..????? More like an amazing amount of good....what's good about San Francisco????

      April 25, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
      • markishere

        Fish & chips

        April 25, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
      • Ryan

        Garlic Fries

        April 25, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
      • snowdogg

        Golden Gate Bridge

        April 25, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
      • markofphotography

        Godiva Chocolate

        April 25, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
      • mabel

        Sees Candies!

        April 25, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
      • FiveLiters

        Folsom Street Fair...well,maybe not,lol

        April 25, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
      • Jack

        Lots of happy gay people!

        April 25, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
      • gmt


        April 25, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
      • Amused

        There is good and bad in all places including big cities. So I would have been sad to see it destroyed.

        April 25, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
      • justin opinion


        April 25, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  93. B. Russell

    I think it was the supersonic drone Darpa lost. About the same time frame.

    April 25, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • RJ

      The DARPA crash happened in August last year. It was only reported on a few weeks ago once the info was declassified.

      April 25, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
  94. shutuphippie

    It's amazing that they were able to see this, much less get a photo of it. Incredible shot!!!

    April 25, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • J.Crobuzon

      Shut up.

      April 25, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  95. DavidP

    I remember seeing a fireball about 35 years ago when I was delivering the newspaper on my morning route. It went from one horizon to the other directly over me lit everything up like it was daylight, and it was 5 in the morning, it was amazing and I still remember it like it was yesterday, the most amazing thing I've ever seen!

    April 25, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • Charles

      The best one I ever saw, streaked across the sky kindof orange/yellow and about half way across the night sky it turned about 45 degree angle and broke into 2 pieces one of which turned back the direction it came from then the pieces faded out

      April 25, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Guest

      I like the metors that come down. Sit in midair for a few minutes. Form a triangle pattern and the zip back up into space. They are the best..........

      April 25, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  96. JCQueipo

    Was an UFO

    April 25, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • t3chsupport

      It wasn't an unidentified flying object, it was an identified falling object.

      April 25, 2012 at 11:57 am |


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