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The Boston Globe

Science

Meteor a once-in-a-century display

The meteor that streaked across the sky on Friday, creating a powerful shock wave when it exploded more than 12 miles above the Earth’s surface, was a once-in-a-century occurrence. It was the largest recorded meteor since the 1908 Tunguska event, when a larger one exploded over Siberia.

NASA scientists said the meteoroid that came down over Russia was a space rock about 50 feet in diameter. They said the resulting explosion was equivalent to detonating about 300 kilotons of TNT — making it roughly 20 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, although the bomb was detonated near the Earth’s surface.

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