Israeli meteorite turns out to be tsuris

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May 9 2010 7:21 AM

Israeli meteorite turns out to be tsuris

A little while back, some news agencies were buzzing over the possibility that a meteorite had fallen in Israel. After all, it was hot and smoking when it was found!

... which is a clear sign that it wasn't a meteorite. Small rocks like that slow down to a couple of hundred kph when they are still high up in the atmosphere, falling slowly and getting plenty of time to cool off before they hit the ground. And, as it turns out, this meteorwrong was most likely an incendiary device.

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This reminds me of the fake impact in Latvia from last October. This Israeli event may not have been faked on purpose, but it's certainly not a meteorite.

Remember, if it's smoking and hot, it's more likely to be fireworks than a fire from the sky.

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death from the Skies! Follow him on Twitter.