NASA says “earthgrazer” meteor flew over Georgia, Alabama

An intimidatingly named space object – “Earthgrazer” – flew over Georgia and Alabama this week, giving witnesses a glimpse of something rare, according to NASA.

The “Earthgrazers” are fireball meteors with such a shallow trajectory that they travel long distances through the upper atmosphere, according to NASA.

“Very rarely they even ‘bounce’ off the atmosphere and return to space,” NASA Meteor Watch wrote on Facebook.

The fireball appeared on Tuesday, November 9 at around 6:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, officials said, and was “detected by three NASA weather cameras in the region.”

It entered the atmosphere “at a very shallow angle, only 5 degrees from the horizontal.”

In fact, it had been flying for so long that NASA had to recalculate its data to determine the distance traveled across the planet.

“The meteor was first seen at an altitude of 55 miles above the Georgian town of Taylorsville, moving northwest at 38,500 miles per hour,” NASA said. Taylorsville is approximately 55 miles northwest of downtown Atlanta.

“Its path was so long that our automated software couldn’t handle all the data. So we ran another scan code this morning (November 10) and found that the fireball had traveled… 186 miles in the air, ”according to NASA. “The revised calculations place the end point 34 miles above the town of Lutts, in southern Tennessee.”

It was “a rare meteor for those lucky enough to see it,” NASA officials say.

Overcast skies in the area blocked the view for many and also foiled attempts to estimate the size of the rock, officials said.

Scientists believe it was “a small fragment of a burning asteroid”.

NASA says an increase in meteor sightings is expected each year between September and November as the planet “passes through a large stream of debris left by Comet Encke.” Debris travels as fast as 65,000 mph as it “burns” in the atmosphere.

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Mark Price has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1991, covering topics such as schools, crime, immigration, LGBTQ issues, homelessness, and non-profit organizations. He graduated from the University of Memphis with a major in journalism and art history, and a minor in geology.

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