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thumbnail The aftermath of a meteorite
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The aftermath of a meteorite © Michele Falzone/Alamy
Today’s a special day for astronomy enthusiasts: It’s both Asteroid Day and Meteor Watch Day. To celebrate, we’re at the rim of a 560-foot-deep crater with a 3,900-foot diameter, creatively called "Meteor Crater." (Scientists call it Barringer Crater, for the name of the man who first theorized it was a meteorite-impact crater.) Some 50,000 years ago, parts of an asteroid fell to Earth here, in a location just east of Flagstaff, Arizona. And today, we can see just how devastating the collision must have been to leave a basin so large.