Meteors Light Up The World's Skies

The meteor over eatern Russia from Friday, Feb 15, 2013
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CHELYABINSK, Russia (AP) -- As a small army of people works to replace acres of windows shattered by the enormous explosion from a meteor, many are joking about what had happened in a particularly troubled pocket of Russia.
One of the most popular jests: Residents of the meteor were terrified to see Chelyabinsk approaching.
The fireball that streaked into the sky over the tough industrial city at about sunrise Friday was undeniably traumatic. Nearly 1,200 people were reported injured by the shock wave from the explosion, estimated to be as strong as 20 Hiroshima atomic bombs.
But it also brought a sense of cooperation in a troubled region. Large numbers of volunteers came forward to help fix the damage caused by the explosion and many residents came together on the Internet -- first to find out what happened and soon to make jokes.
Chelyabinsk, nicknamed Tankograd because it produced the famed Soviet T-34 tanks, can be as grim as its backbone heavy industries. Long winters where temperatures routinely hit minus-22 Fahrenheit add to a general dour mien.
Officials estimate damage from the high-altitude explosion at $33 million.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- An expert on meteors says based on reports the light seen streaking across the Northern California sky last night was a sporadic meteor, or fireball, and not a major event.
Mike Hankey, operations manager for the American Meteor Society, says "fireballs happen every single night, all around the world." The group, based in Genesee, N.Y., recorded at least 35 reports of the event.
Hours after a meteor exploded over Russia and injured more than 1,000 people and an asteroid passed relatively close to Earth, residents in California reported seeing the unusual flash of light over the San Francisco Bay area.
Experts say smaller meteorites hit earth five to 10 times a year but chances of a large meteor passing, such as the one that streaked over Chelyabinsk, Russia, are much rarer. Another meteor landed in the Bay Area in October and caused a loud sonic boom.
On Friday, the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland also reported receiving calls describing the event.
Jonathan Braidman, an instructor at the center, says it was likely a small piece of an asteroid that "somehow" got on a collision course with the earth. Braidman calls it "a very common occurrence."

HAVANA (AP) -- Cuban official media say the island apparently experienced a phenomenon similar to the meteorite that detonated over Russia this week.
A video posted on news website CubaSi reports that residents of the city of Rodas witnessed a bright light in the sky and a loud explosion that shook windows and walls.
The video contained accounts from startled residents and an expert who said it was most likely a meteorite. One unnamed local said it happened Tuesday night.
There was no report of any damage or injuries such as that seen with the Russia meteorite, which sent out shock waves that hurt some 1,200 people and shattered countless windows.
Rodas is near the central Cuban city of Cienfuegos.
The video posted late Friday on CubaSi said authorities were looking for any meteorite fragments.