Watch: Fireball lights up sky, brighter than the moon
The space rock was about 2 feet in diameter and weighed more than 100 pounds. When it hit the Earth’s atmosphere last week, it shone, briefly, 20 times brighter than the moon.
NASA’s cameras captured the meteor as it zipped over the Southeast United States on Wednesday. In the video above, you can watch as it comes soaring through the sky and explodes in a flash of light.
The steady orb of light in the left of the frame is the moon.
The meteor entered the Earth’s atmosphere over the Georgia-Tennessee border at 12:30 a.m. PST, and shone for about 3 seconds, said Bill Cooke of NASA’s meteoroid environment office in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
It was moving at 56,000 mph before it broke apart at an altitude of 33 miles. Half a second later, it broke apart a second time at an altitude of 29 miles.
Fragments and dust from the meteor fell to the Earth, and Cooke said his team is trying to figure out where those pieces may have landed.
Sound detectors on Earth did pick up a sonic boom when the meteor broke apart, but it was probably too quiet to have woken anyone up.
NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office has been scanning the skies for meteors through a network of six cameras spread across the Southern United States since 2008.
Cooke told the Los Angeles Times that this was one of the brightest meteors his cameras have ever caught.
Get our free Coronavirus Today newsletter
Sign up for the latest news, best stories and what they mean for you, plus answers to your questions.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.