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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published April 30 2012

Weather Talk: Boom from exploding meteor April 21 rattles California, Nevada

On Saturday, April 21, many people in California and Nevada were startled by a loud boom and what appeared to be an explosion in the sky. The cause was immediately determined to be a large, exploding meteor.

Robert Ward, a meteorite hunter from Prescott, Ariz., found two pieces of the meteorite about the size of nickels along a road in northern California. Astronomers estimate that the meteor was about the size of a minivan when it entered the atmosphere at somewhere between 22,000 and 44,000 mph.

The sudden friction caused the meteor to mostly vaporize, but a few small pieces did fall to the ground. The meteor was a part of the Lyrid meteor shower, which happens each April as Earth moves through the path of Comet Thatcher. Several people in North Dakota and Minnesota also reported seeing bright meteors that same weekend.

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