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Meteorites from mystery fireball over Arizona found

This still, from a YouTube video posted by Mark Olhava, appears to show the meteor sighting recorded by a GoPro camera on the driver's dashboard.

YouTube/Mark Olhava

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona State University says researchers have found pieces of a small asteroid that left a fiery trail in the sky over eastern Arizona earlier this month.

ASU spokeswoman Beth Giudicessi said Wednesday that a team of meteorite hunters recently located 15 meteorites on tribal lands after getting permission to search.

Working in partnership with the White Mountain Apache Tribe, scholars spent more than 130 hours searching the White Mountains.

ASU Center for Meteorite Studies curator Laurence Garvie says the findings offer a "piece of that giant puzzle about where did we come from."

A meteor is a small body of matter that enters Earth's atmosphere from outer space. Due to friction, it becomes incandescent and appears as a streak of light as it plummets through the sky.

The tribe will have ownership of the meteorites but ASU will curate them.

Dozens of people reported seeing a fireball in the early morning hours of June 2. One resident described seeing a sudden light illuminate the front of her home and "heard a loud roaring and then it was gone," CBS Phoenix affiliate KPHO reported.

NASA says it was a small asteroid that had broken apart.

The news of the meteorite finding comes at an appropriate time: today is Asteroid Day, a date that marks the anniversary of the largest asteroid impact ever recorded on Earth. It happened on June 30, 1908 when an asteroid smashed into the atmosphere over Siberia, releasing the equivalent of 100 tons of TNT and affecting an area of 800 square miles.