See NASA's awesome pic of flaming meteor that exploded over California

Our atmosphere is assaulted by cosmic debris on a somewhat regular basis, but for an extraterrestial chunk to get this close to the surface—and for a photographer to catch it so clearly—is something special.

The space rock entered our atmosphere this past Sunday and, when it exploded over California's Central Valley, it released the energy equivalent of a five-kiloton bomb.

"An event of this size might happen about once a year," said Don Yeomans of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office. "But most of them occur over the ocean or an uninhabited area, so getting to see one is something special."

Click on the picture to embiggen.

meteor-nevada.nasa.jpg

Earthquakes, mudslides, wildfires and now meteor strikes ... the California Tourism Board must be loving this.

(via Photo Blog)

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