Sunday, 21 July, 2019

A 1,500 Ton Meteor Exploded Over Earth Last Year

Meteorologist Simon Proud found the meteor's purported smoke trail on Japan's Himawari satellite Meteorologist Simon Proud found the meteor's purported smoke trail on Japan's Himawari satellite
Sandra Phillips | 19 March, 2019, 16:27

It seems that a giant space rock exploded in the Earth's atmosphere.

It said the massive fireball from an exploding meteorite was the second largest blast of its kind for 30 years.

But it went largely unnoticed until now because it blew up over the Bering Sea, off Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula.

The explosion was ten times as powerful as the Hiroshima atomic bomb, hitting Earth's atmosphere at 5.20 am IST (11.50 pm GMT) on 19 December over the stretch of Pacific Ocean between Russian Federation and Alaska.

The BBC reported that the asteroid measured several meters and had the impact energy of 173 kilotons.

This fireball explosion wasn't a small incident though: Lindley Johnson, NASA's planetary defense officer, told BBC News that a, "fireball this big is only expected about two or three times every 100 years". That's about 10 times bigger than the atomic bomb used on Hiroshima in 1945.

The meteor entered the Earth's atmosphere nearly vertically at a steep angle of 7 degrees and at a speed of around 32km/s.

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NASA conducted independent research into the event using USA military satellites, and was able to determine that the meteor was traveling at some 115,200kph (71,600 miles per hour) and exploded at an altitude of 25.6km (16 miles).

Kelly Fast, the near-Earth objects observations programme manager at NASA, spoke about the incredible discovery at the 50th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, near Houston, in Texas.

"That's another thing we have in our defense, there's plenty of water on the planet", Fast said. NASA scientist Kelly Fast delivered the news at the 50th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in the U.S. state of Texas this week.

NASA is checking with airlines to see if there were any reported sightings.

Nasa was tasked by US Congress in 2005 with locating 90 per cent of near-Earth asteroids of 140 metres in size or larger by 2020 but scientists say it will take another 30 years to achieve the directive.

Meteors such as this are known as "problems without passports" because they have the potential to impact whole regions if they collide with Earth.

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