NASA Captures Meteor Exploding Over the Bering Sea


Two things really jump out at you when you look at astrophotography.

One, the amazing scale of everything and, two, how much is going on that we don’t capture.

fireball over bering sea
Image via NASA.

In December 2018, a meteor exploded over the Bering Sea in central Asia.

Releasing the energy equivalent of ten atomic explosions according to PetaPixel, this meteor shot up a massive fireball into that sky that NASA captured with its Terra satellite.

The meteor exploded 26 kilometers, or 16 miles, above the surface of the Earth.

In its wake, it left a large dark streak across the canopy of clouds which you can see in the true-color image captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MODIS).

Meanwhile, the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer, or MISR, captured a series of pictures that shows the extremely hot meteor entering the atmosphere with a streak of orange trailing behind it.

As NASA explains, “The image sequence shows views from five of nine cameras on the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument taken at 23:55 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), a few minutes after the event. The shadow of the meteor's trail through Earth's atmosphere, cast on the cloud tops and elongated by the low sun angle, is to the northwest. The orange-tinted cloud that the fireball left behind by super-heating the air it passed through can be seen below and to the right of the GIF's center.”

You can view that GIF over on NASA's website by clicking here.

NASA further commented that this fireball was the largest recorded since 2013, but also noted that the phenomenon is relatively common.

“The Dec. 18 fireball was the most powerful meteor to be observed since 2013; however, given its altitude and the remote area over which it occurred, the object posed no threat to anyone on the ground…Fireball events are actually fairly common.”

Image via NASA.

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Kehl is our staff photography news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here

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