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Meteorite, asteroid create fascination with astronomy

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A meteorite hits Russia and then an asteroid has a close encounter with Earth. Astronomers say the two are not related, but they are both extremely extraordinary.

On Friday morning, February 15th, most people were focused on an asteroid's approach to Earth's orbit. But it was a meteorite in Russia that attracted the world's attention.

"The damage came about because of the, of it hitting the atmosphere, 'n' creating the shockwaves, and the sonic booms, 'n' those kinds of things," said Rich Talcott of Astronomy Magazine.

Talcott is the senior editor for Astronomy Magazine which is based in Waukesha. He explains, an asteroid is a large space rock that enters Earth's orbit. A meteor is a smaller rock which enters Earth's atmosphere and burns up. A meteorite reaches Earth's surface. Experiencing one of them is out of the ordinary.

At the Milwaukee Public Museum, Director Robert Bonadurer took advantage of the astronomical abnormality by including it in the planetarium's presentations on Friday.

"In my 30 some years of teaching astronomy, this is the biggest, cosmic-coincidence I have ever come across," said Bonadurer.

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