Last year, in December, a meteor exploded above the clouds over the Bering Sea. NASA’s observatory in the sky captured the jaw-dropping event. Now the space agency has released rare photos revealing a fireball hurtling through Earth’s atmosphere. The images are just before the explosion of a meteor, which took place with more than ten times the energy emitted by the Hiroshima atomic bomb. A bright fireball plunged into Earth’s atmosphere over the remote Bering Sea in December 2018. Though, no one noticed it until some researchers, mining satellite images, found the eye-catching event. NASA’s Terra satellite, which observes the Earth, accidentally recorded the fiery explosion.
The images reveal the meteor’s smoky track over the Bering Sea. Scientists say it seems like a dark spot over the clouds. NASA also published a GIF showing the explosion. The space agency says the orange-colored clouds are due to the passing of meteor from there. It left the air super-heated and is clearly visible in the GIF. NASA says the explosion released about 173 kilotons of energy, which is ten times more than the atomic bomb blast of World War II. It is also the second largest of its kind in the last three decades. Since 2013, the explosion is more massive since the fireball over Chelyabinsk in Russia.
Caleb Scharf, an astrophysicist, said it is not essential that a meteor should be too big to create a powerful impact. This time the object measured just a few meters across, but other aspects like high velocity and steep angle helped it to punch Earth. Fortunately, the Bering Sea fireball was far away from civilization. Thus it did not have any impact on human. But it created a more harsh reminder of the power of the incoming rocks from space. Therefore, NASA is working on ways in order to reduce the harm from such type of collisions. It is preparing for the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART). Under the project, it will hit a spacecraft into an asteroid at a speed of 13,500mph. NASA is looking forward to redirecting such things away from Earth’s surface.