Very bright fireball over Virginia and Maryland, U.S.

virginia fireball july 29 2022

A very bright fireball was seen over Virginia and Maryland, U.S. at 01:52 UTC on July 29, 2022. At its brightest, the fireball was about 2 times brighter than the Full Moon.

The American Meteor Society (AMS) received 255 eyewitness reports1, mainly from Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

Analysis of these reports, combined with constraints from a NASA all-sky camera at Allegheny Observatory and EarthCams on the Washington Monument and in Baltimore Harbor, gives first visibility of the fireball at an altitude of 83 km (52 miles) above Stephens City, Virginia.2

The meteor moved to the northwest at about 74 000 km/h (46 000 miles per hour), disintegrating 51 km (32 miles) above the town of Frostburg in Maryland.

virginia fireball july 29 2022 heatmap
Virginia fireball July 29, 2022 – heatmap. Credit: AMS

The disintegration of the object unleashed energy equal to 9 tons of TNT, recorded by an infrasound station in the area.

From this, we can compute that the object – likely a small piece of an asteroid – was about 45 cm (18 inches) in diameter and weighed approximately 90 km (200 pounds), NASA Meteor Watch said.

References:

1 Fireball event 2022-4424 – AMS – July 29, 2022

2 Update on fireball over Virginia and Maryland – NASA Meteor Watch – July 29, 2022

Featured image credit: Mount Jackson, VA SkyWatch

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