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Great Balls of Fire: Light in Night Sky Was Likely Asteroid

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Photo by dprotz via Flickr
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A ball of light that flew through the sky last night was neither bird nor plane nor UFO; rather, experts at NASA believe that the object was a firey asteroid, reports NBC Los Angeles.

The fireball made its speedy journey at about 7:30 p.m., and was visible to residents across the southwest -- sightings were reported not just in California but in Nevada and Arizona as well. Scientists say that the object, which may have been traveling several miles per second, most likely disintegrated before it hit the earth.

For something that was seen by so many people, it was also likely quite small; Don Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program, said that it was probably about as big as a basketball or baseball. The objects aren't uncommon, but they usually travel over the ocean, making it less likely that we'll see them.

According to L.A. Now, Yeomans added that if the asteroid did strike the ground, there wouldn't be any reason to worry:

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Yeomans said any object smaller than 30 meters isn't going to cause damage on the ground. "No one should be concerned," he said. "We basically ran it over."