On February 26 at 1:06 p.m., someone in northern Alaska may have seen a torch of light in the cold daytime sky.
That afternoon, satellites detected a meteoric fireball headed toward Earth. An asteroid six feet in diameter penetrated the atmosphere at 13 miles per second, piercing the protective shell of gases at a steep angle. Arriving from the northwest, the asteroid exploded 21 miles above the ground. A spray of space rocks sizzled to Earth in a quiet part of the Brooks Range east of the Dalton Highway.