A camera in North Carolina shows the meteor as it streaks toward Earth. (Feb. 13, 2012/Stuart McDaniel)
A Greenville man says the flash seen in the windshield of his car is the meteor. (Feb. 13, 2012/Joseph Fidler)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -
Many people across the Upstate called FOX Carolina and said they were awakened by a loud boom and flash of light early Monday morning.
Most of the reports of the unusual phenomenon came from people living in Cherokee, Spartanburg and Greenville counties at about 1:45 a.m.
Officials at the National Weather Service at the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport said that based on eyewitness reports, the event was likely a meteor.
The Weather Service said there was a flash in the sky about 1:46 a.m. and they recorded a very faint flash with their cameras.
Spartanburg police told the Weather Service that they had received numerous calls from the public. They said that one of their officers said they saw a flash light up their car and saw various pieces disintegrate in the sky.
Greenville resident Joseph Fidler sent security camera video from his home showing a bright light illuminating his neighborhood and a reflection of the meteor in the windshield of his car below.
Stuart McDaniel, of Lawndale, NC, sent in video to FOX Carolina that shows a large fireball streaking across the lower horizon at about the same time as the meteor was reported in the Upstate.
Dr. Scott Howard, a geologist with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, said the chances of finding a meteorite are very slim. He said only six have ever been found in South Carolina, three of which were found in the Upstate.
Howard said objects coming into the atmosphere, known as meteors, are common and are usually called shooting stars. He said if something hits the ground, it is then called a meteorite.
If someone does find something they believe may be a meteorite, Howard said it is safe to pick it up once it cools off because they are not radioactive. The SCDNR reports three basic ways to identify a meteorite.
The first way is to use a magnet on a string. The meteorite will sway or attract to the magnet.
Second, you can compare the weight to an earth rock of the same size. The meteorite is very heavy, according to the SCDNR.
Third, you can observe the exterior of the meteorite. The SCDNR said the meteorite should have a shiny black crust, areas of rust and indentations, like a what thumb leaves in clay.
Dr. Charles St. Lucas, with the Roper Mountain Science Center, said the timing of the meteor is uncommon, since astronomers can usually predict them based on when the earth will pass through the tail of a comet.
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