Meteor blast over Bering sea packed quite a punch without being noticed

Meteor blast over Bering sea

US detects huge meteor explosion

The meteor exploded near commercial airline routes, so researchers are checking with airline operators to see if any reported sightings exist, Lindley Johnson, planetary defense officer at NASA, told BBC.

Military satellites detected the meteor at the time and sent the data to NASA, however the detonation had gone comparatively unrecognized by most. The meteor exploded at 25.6km above the Bering Sea with an energy of 173 kilotons.

NASA was reportedly alerted about the December 18 blast over the Bering Sea by the US Air Force.

As to why one of the largest meteor impacts in recent history may have totally passed you by, that's likely because the space rock in question shattered over the Bering Sea, a cold stretch of the Pacific Ocean between Russian Federation and Alaska, miles from inhabited land.

The asteroid entered the atmosphere at a speed of 32 kilometers per hour, at an angle of seven degrees.

"That's another thing we have in our defense, there's plenty of water on the planet", Fast said.

Meteor blast over Bering sea

The fireball exploded with a force 10 times that of the energy released by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima - the equivalent of 380 million pounds of TNT - making it the second largest of its kind in the last 30 years.

The December 2018 impact only came to attention this week thanks, in part, to a presentation at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Texas that was delivered by Kelly Fast, NASA's near-Earth objects observations program manager.

A flying space rock that broke up over the Bering Sea late a year ago has proved to be the third-largest object known to have struck Earth in recorded history, according to the Canadian researcher who was first to draw public attention to the incident.

The space rock exploded with 10 times the energy released by the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

A Japanese weather satellite picked up what appears to be smoke in the upper atmosphere from the explosion, said Simon Proud of the University of Oxford, who posted some of the photos to Twitter.

Dr Amy Mainzer of the Centre for Near-Earth Object Studies at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), said: "The idea is really to get as close as possible to reaching that 90 per cent goal of finding the 140m and larger near-Earth asteroids given to Nasa by Congress".

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