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Scientists: It Was Definitely A Meteor You Saw...

LINK:  Southland Residents Report Seeing Strange Lights In The Night Sky

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — That mystery in the sky? That looming image shooting across the sky that hundreds of thousands of people saw in the night sky Wednesday?

Relax. It wasn't a plane on fire, fireworks, or space junk crashing to Earth...or a UFO filled with visitors from another world.

As Dave Lopez said on the KCAL9 News at Noon "Then just what the heck was it?"

Officials today say -- with unqualified certainty -- that it was a meteor.

Kristine Lazar, reporting for CBS2 Thursday, talked to Dr. Ed Krupp, the director of the Griffith Park Observatory.

"It's a piece of interplanetary rock, that passes through the Earth's atmosphere, heats up the air, and we see it from the ground as this streak of light through the sky."

And for all the hoopla and hype that amazing, intriguing light show got, Krupp believes this meteor was actually no bigger than a baseball.

Krupp said what was rare was how slowly this meteor moved, and over a populated area. Most of these meteors, he explains, move much faster, and over largely unpopulated areas.

"There are probably hundreds of these events occurring somewhere around the Earth daily,"  he said, "but most of the places where they occur people, don't see them...most of the Earth is uninhabited."

Had the meteor fallen to Earth, probably no major damage done, says Krupp. He believes it likely burned up or skipped back out into space.

Did we dodge a bullet, literally? Krupp says, not really. "Something the size of a bus?, that would take out a lot of blocks. And if it had been a mile across you're talking serious damage to an entire city. And if it had been tens of miles across, very rare, unlikely to happen, then you're talking global consequences."


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