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Asteroid crashing into the atmosphere outshines full moon

NASA says a meteor turned fireball lit up the sky 40 times brighter than the moon.

A meteor briefly lit up the dark early morning sky on Friday, far outshining the moon as it spent its final moments as a bright fireball. 

Dozens of official sighting reports from across the southeastern US have been registered with the American Meteor Society, which tracks fireball events. 

NASA reports that the fireball was picked up by a half dozen meteor cameras in the region and was at least 40 times the brightness of the full moon, lighting up even cloudy skies.

"Analysis of the data indicates that the meteor was first seen at an altitude of 58 miles above Turkeytown, Alabama (northeast of Gadsden), moving west of north at 53,700 miles per hour. (86,422 km/h) It fragmented some 18 miles above the small town of Grove Oak," reads a posting on Facebook by NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office based in Huntsville, Alabama.

The space agency says the fireball probably originated as an asteroid 6 feet (2 m) in diameter that impacted our atmosphere. By comparison, the bolide that exploded in the atmosphere over Russia in 2013, blowing out thousands of windows below, was estimated to be about ten times larger. 

NASA says it's still determining the likelihood that the fireball produced any small bits of meteorites on the ground. Meanwhile, keep an eye out for any odd rocks that look a little out of place if you happen to be in the area.