New satellite images have revealed the moment a 1,500-ton meteor exploded over our planet releasing energy 10 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima.
The event took place in December of 2018, and no one detected it.
The meteor exploded over the Bering Sea – between Russia and Alaska – but reports suggest it has only just now been discovered.
According to experts, the event is the second largest meteor explosion to take place in the last 30 years.
Furthermore, it is the second largest explosion since the Chelyabinsk fireball of 2013.
The meteor measures around 10 meters in diameter and as it impacted our atmosphere, it released the same amount of energy as approximately 173 kilotons of TNT.
The fireball was spotted by Peter Brown, a researcher at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, who posted his findings on Twitter: “Airburst over Bering Sea (58.6N, 174.2W) on Dec 18, 2018 @ 2350 UT detected by >16 infrasound stations worldwide. Based on periods in excess of 10 sec, minimum yield is tens of kT range – could be ~100 kT. Probably most energetic fireball since #chelyabinsk”
Airburst over Bering Sea (58.6N, 174.2W) on Dec 18, 2018 @ 2350 UT detected by >16 infrasound stations worldwide. Based on periods in excess of 10 sec, minimum yield is tens of kT range – could be ~100 kT. Probably most energetic fireball since #chelyabinsk @WesternU
— Peter Brown (@pgbrown) March 8, 2019
The 10-meter-wide space object approached Earth at a steep seven degrees and eventually exploded around 25 kilometers above the surface.
The explosion was spotted military satellites which automatically informed NASA, but researchers had missed the information until now.
The meteor explosion was photographed from space by a Japanese weather satellite camera.
Simon Proud, a meteorologist at the University of Oxford, who shared images of the event on Twitter, writing:
“I’m sure it’s the meteor trace. It appears in the images at the right time, it is in the right location, the smoke column is almost vertical, and the smoke is very high. Much higher than any clouds in that region and too high to be a contrail.”