The big ‘fireball’ shocked the residents of several southern states

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Residents of several southern states have seen and heard a visitor from space this week. NASA reports that more than 30 people have been reported to be on fire. Many more residents of Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi have not seen the object, but have heard it. There were countless reports of loud noises as the object rocketed through our atmosphere and eventually landed on Earth.

NASA says the fireball is probably part of an asteroid that covers one foot and weighs about 90 pounds. As it began to disintegrate in the lower atmosphere, it was hitting the earth at a speed of 55,000 miles per hour. The splitting produces the equivalent energy of a three ton TNT explosion, causing a shockwave to be felt in the ground below. It was also the source of numerous loud noises reported by residents. The object was first seen 54 miles above Mississippi and detached in an area 34 miles north of Minorca, Louisiana.

Fire shells were detected by NOAA’s Geostationary Lightning Mappers (GLM). (Photo: NOAA)

Striking “Fireball” was first picked up by a NOAA satellite located 22,00 miles away. Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) 16 and 17 on the company’s Geostationary Lightning Mappers (GLM) ship detected numerous bright flashes in the sky. The flashes were caused by the isolation of the boloid, which is an exceptionally bright meteor. NASA says it was at its peak, ten times brighter than a full moon.

Such incidents are extremely rare. Bill Cook, who runs NASA’s Meteorological Environment Office, said Mississippi residents will not see another meteor like “for decades.” Cook offered his comments on a local news station, which also shows footage of meteorites falling on Earth. Unfortunately, the footage was captured on a dash cam, so it’s low-resolution and granular. Cook said in a statement that he was surprised that more people did not see the meteor. “I thought it was unusual to see so few eyewitness accounts that the sky was so clear,” Cook said. “More people have heard it than seen it.” Cook described the meteorite as “a beautiful phenomenon I’ve seen in GLM data.” It is not clear what he meant by “excellent” in this context, except for the fact that no one was injured on the ground. It probably looked pretty.

Feature image of Alex Alishevsky.

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