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NASA releases images of meteorite that caused 173 kilotons explosion over Earth

Vishal Kawadkar

NASA has released satellite images of a meteor which appeared over the Bering Sea on December 18 but went unnoticed until a few months. The explosion generated ten times the energy of the atomic bomb that was dropped over Hiroshima in World War II. The impact released around 173 kilotons of energy.

The images were taken minutes after the meteor disintegrated in the atmosphere and show the shadow of the fireball trail on top of clouds. The super-heated air turns the clouds to an orange tint. NASA used the instruments on its Terra satellite to capture the phenomenon.

A still picture was captured at 2350 GMT, while five cameras on the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument captured another sequence of photos at 2355, which the space agency collected into a GIF that shows the orange tail. According to NASA, the meteor occurred at 23:48 GMT.

Meteors are rocks from outer space that become incandescent upon entering the Earth's atmosphere due to friction. In common language, we also call them shooting stars. The pieces that survive the atmosphere and hit the ground are called meteorites.

It is said to be the most powerful explosion after the meteorite that burst over the Russian town of Chelyabinsk in 2013. The 440 kiloton explosion left around 1,500 people injured. This time, the explosion took place over waters, hundreds of kilometers off the Russian coast.

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