Meteor explosion towers over Pennsylvania on New Years Day

Observations from GOES-16 show that a lightning bolt that was later determined was from a meteor that exploded on January 1, 2022. (Image credit: Twitter / NWSPittsburgh)

A meteor passing through Earth’s atmosphere exploded over Pittsburgh, Pa. On New Years Day (January 1).

Just before 11:30 am EST (4:30 pm GMT) on January 1, residents of Pittsburgh heard what sounded like a loud “boom” outside. Reports have described slamming windows and shaking objects in their homes, according to CBS Pittsburgh. The sudden explosion surprised residents of the Pittsburgh area as the meteor smashed into the cloudy morning sky.

The strong detonation was in fact a bolide, term for a large meteor which explodes in our atmosphere, exploded with the energy of 30 tons of detonating TNT, according to NASA Meteor Watch.

Related: Stunning photos of the Geminid meteor shower

The doomed meteor, which was estimated to be about 3 feet (0.9 meters) in diameter with a mass close to 1,000 pounds (453 kilograms), was probably traveling at around 45,000 mph (72,420 km / h) when it s is broken in the Earth. atmosphere, the NASA social media site said.

NASA’s Meteor Watch added that if there had been no clouds when the meteor burned down in our atmosphere, the event would have been about 100 times brighter than the full moon and visible in sunlight. day.

Through the clouds, however, some say it appeared as a “little purple lightning bolt,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tweeted.

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NOAA added that the event was detected by the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) on the GOES East Earth monitoring satellite.

This meteoric event comes just months after a fireball was spotted in the sky over West Virginia, September 17, 2021. The event, which was later determined to be a meteor scorching in the atmosphere, also caused a loud “boom” and shook the ground, raising suspicion of a possible earthquake.

“Fireballs” were also reported by sky watchers who witnessed what were in fact rocket launches. Sky watchers throughout the eastern seaboard of the United States have reported hundreds of sightings following a SpaceX launches in November which transported its Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station.

Email Chelsea Gohd at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Follow us on twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.


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