NASA says a fireball that streaked across the US South East was traveling about 53,700 miles per hour (86,422 kilometres per hour) when it lit up the night over Alabama.

The Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center said numerous people had reported seeing the very bright streak cross the sky early on Aug. 17.

A statement and video posted on Facebook said analysis showed the meteor was first seen at an altitude of about 58 miles (93 kilometres) above rural Turkeytown, which is about 80 miles (129 kilometres) northeast of Birmingham.

The office estimated the small asteroid, about six feet (1.8 metres) in diameter then broke apart, about 18 miles (29 kilometres) above the town of Oak Grove.

It was at least 40 times as bright as the full moon at one point, according to the office.

It added researchers were assessing whether any fragments from the rock might have hit the ground.

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