"It was brighter and long-lasting than anything I've seen before," said eyewitness Daryn Morran. "The fireball took about eight seconds to cross the sky. I could see the fireball start to slow down; then it exploded like a firecracker artillery shell into several pieces, flickered a few more times and then slowly burned out."
The fireball was about as bright as the full moon, and was spotted by NASA cameras in New Mexico, more than 500 miles (805 km) away. It was likely caused by an object 3 to 6 feet (1 to 2 meters) wide, NASA researchers said.
And the meteors have kept coming, well into February.
"This month, some big space rocks have been hitting Earth's atmosphere," said Bill Cooke of the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. "There have been five or six notable fireballs that might have dropped meteorites around the United States."
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So far in February, NASA's All-Sky Fireball Network - which currently consists of six cameras set up in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and New Mexico - has photographed about half a dozen of these strange slow-moving, deep-diving fireballs. They have ranged in size from basketballs to buses.