NASA releases images of meteorite that caused 173 kilotons explosion over Earth

Cristina Cross
March 27, 2019

The explosion happened 15.5 miles above the surface of the Bering Sea, an isolated area of the Pacific Ocean between Russian Federation and Alaska.

In the standalone still image, NASA says this this true-color image features the remnants of its trail as a dark shadow on the thick white clouds.

The super-heated air turns the clouds to an orange tint in the meteor's wake. The report said a smoke cloud was spotted at 2350 GMT, which was the same time that NASA's monitoring sensors picked up on the meteor.

The U.S. space agency says the blast featured an estimated 173 kilotons of energy, and that the series of images was made by two instruments aboard the Terra Satellite back on December 18, 2018. It is actually the remnant of a meteor that exploded over the Bering Sea.

NASA recently reported about an explosion of a meteor over the Bering Sea that went unnoticed until this week. In other words, the explosion was 10 times the power of the Hiroshima atomic bomb which was only a measly 15 kilotons.

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The space agency watches for near-Earth objects in the range of 460 feet (140 m) across and larger.

Meteors, commonly known as "shooting stars", are the visible paths of asteroid or comet fragments that enter the Earth's atmosphere. It was captured by Terra's Moderate Resolution Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MODIS) and its Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR).

Fireball over the Bering Sea.

The December 18th fireball was the most powerful meteor to be observed since 2013; however, given its altitude and the remote area over which it occurred, the object posed no threat to anyone on the ground. Although fireballs are quite common, this was the most powerful meteor scientists have tracked since 2013. On June 30 of that year, a meteor exploded 6 miles (10 km) or so above Eastern Siberia, flattening hundreds of square miles of forests. The 440 kiloton explosion left around 1,500 people injured.

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