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New Year’s Day meteor explosion over Pittsburgh captured via GOES-16 satellite, U.S.


A loud boom over the skies of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania on January 1, 2022, was caused by a meteor exploding with the blast energy equivalent to 30 tons of TNT.

The event took place around 16:20 UTC (11:30 EST) but was not observable from the ground due to clouds.

Luckily, the Geostationary Lightning Mapper on the GOES-16 satellite picked up the explosion, confirming it as a culprit of the sounds heard.

Image credit: NASA Meteor Watch

A nearby infrasound station registered the blast wave from the meteor as it broke apart, enabling an estimate of the energy at 30 tons of TNT, NASA Meteor Watch said.

"If we make a reasonable assumption as to the meteor’s speed (72 400 km/h / 45 000 mph), we can ballpark the object’s size at about 90 cm (1 yard) in diameter, with a mass close to 500 kg (1 000 pounds)."

"Had it not been cloudy, the fireball would have been easily visible in the daylight sky – crude estimate indicates about 100 times the brightness of the Full Moon."

Meteor explosion over Pittsburg, Pennsylvania on January 1, 2022. Credit: NOAA/GOES-16, RAMMB/CIRA, TW

Featured image: Meteor explosion over Pittsburg, Pennsylvania on January 1, 2022. Credit: NOAA/GOES-16, RAMMB/CIRA, TW

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