Massive Meteor Explosion Detected by US Air Force In Late

Olive Hawkins
March 19, 2019

NASA planetary defence officer Lindley Johnson said the asteroid exploded with 10 times the energy released by the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

The explosion was ten times as powerful as the Hiroshima atomic bomb, hitting Earth's atmosphere at 5.20 am IST (11.50 pm GMT) on 19 December over the stretch of Pacific Ocean between Russian Federation and Alaska.

The scale: It's the biggest blast since the meteor that exploded over Chelyabinsk in Russian Federation in 2015-and the biggest in 30 years, says the BBC.

Details of the meteoric explosion over the Bering Sea, off Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula, last December, have only just begun to emerge. The Bering Sea fireball exploded 25.6 kilometres above the air having struck thicker layers of the atmosphere with its air burst power reaching 173 kilotons, which is 11 times less than "Little Boy", a 15-kiloton bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima.

The blast released about 40% of the energy of the meteor explosion over Chelyabinsk, according to Kelly Fast, Nasa's near-Earth objects observations programme manager, who spoke at the 50th Lunar and Planetary Science conference near Houston. "That's another thing we have in our defense, there's plenty of water on the planet".

A fireball the size of the one that exploded over the Bering Sea is only expected about two or three times every 100 years, says NASA.

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NASA did not record the event, but the USA military satellites captured the massive meteor explosion.

Even though this fireball explosion remained under the radar, Dr. Johnson told BBC News that the large space rock was close to an area near routes used by commercial flights. Researchers have been verifying with airlines to see if there were any reported sightings of the event from passengers or the pilots.

Once an incoming object is identified, Nasa has had some notable success at calculating where on Earth the impact will occur, based on a precise determination of its orbit.

A more robust network would be dependent not only on ground telescopes, but space-based observatories also.

In a test of the concept, a telescope called NeoCam will be launched to a gravitational balance point in space.

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