NASA: Fireball Over South Was 10 Times Brighter Than Moon

Chunk of asteroid exploded over Louisiana
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 29, 2022 5:01 AM CDT
NASA: Fireball Over South Was Part of Asteroid
The NOAA released this satellite image of the fireball.   (NOAA)

(Newser) – NASA has confirmed that a fireball seen over three Southern states this week was a piece of an asteroid around a foot across that exploded 34 miles above a swampy area in Louisiana. The agency says around 30 people in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana reported sightings. The meteor, which weighed 80 to 90 pounds, "hit the atmosphere moving at 55,000 miles-per-hour and created that brilliant fireball," says Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environments Office, per USA Today. "It also broke apart and created the pressure waves that caused the booms and the shaking."

Cooke says the asteroid chunk, which streaked along the path of the Mississippi River Wednesday morning, was "way too small" to do any damage and none of it made it to the ground. NASA says that when it was at its brightest, the fireball was 10 times brighter than the full moon, though despite clear skies, more people heard it than saw it, Space.com reports. In a statement, NASA said the fireball was detected by the NOAA's Geostationary Lightning Mappers on board the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites 22,000 miles out in space. (A fireball seen in the Midwest last fall was a failed Russian satellite.)

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