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Meteor shower sparks panic

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Albany/HV: Meteor shower sparks panic
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An active day for outer space as a meteor shower stuck parts of Russia early Friday morning. A fly-by asteroid also missed Earth by more than 17,000 miles on Friday afternoon. Karen Tararache reports on whether the events were connected or just plain coincidence.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- "It is not an easy day to wake up or to start your day for people in Russia," said Laurie A. Leshin, Dean of Science of Rensselaer's Polytechnic Institute.

There was a bright light in the sky followed by chaos on the ground. On Friday morning, an unexpected meteor shower damaged several buildings 900 miles east of Moscow.

Laurie explained, "There’s a shock wave that is produced by these explosive events where basically the air piles up on itself and you get a pressure wave."

With parts of Russia damaged and several hundred people injured, experts in the U.S. say you have nothing to worry about when it comes to a fly-by hitting Earth.

"The small things like meteors and meteorites are a little harder to track but the bigger things like asteroids, that is like clockwork," said Mac Suddeth, Executive Director at The Museum of Innovation and Science in Schenectady.

So it was a strange coincidence when on Friday afternoon, an asteroid the size of half a football field flew right by our planet.

He added, "The meteorite came from a different direction than the asteroid, so I don't think there is any connection."

Experts say not to worry, the chances of today's fly-by asteroid breaking through the atmosphere and touching ground is a one-in-a-thousand year occurrence.

Mac assured that "NASA keeps really good track of those and you can see them coming a long way, so we would have lots of warning."

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