A huge fireball crashed into the Atlantic earlier this month – and went almost unseen.
The event took place on February 6 at 14:00 UTC when a meteor exploded in the air 620 miles (1,000km) off the coast of Brazil.
It released energy equivalent to 13,000 tons of TNT, which is the same as the energy used in the first atomic weapon that leveled Hiroshima in 1945.
This was the largest event of its type since the February 2013 fireball that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, leaving more than 1,600 people injured.
That fireball measured 18 meters across and screamed into Earth’s atmosphere at 41,600 mph. Much of the debris landed in a local lake called Chebarkul.
The Chelyabinsk fireball had 500,000 tons of TNT energy – 40 times more than the latest impact, according to Phil Plait.
‘As impacts go, this was pretty small,’ Plait writes in an in-depth report in his Slait blog. ‘After all, you didn’t even hear about until weeks after it occurred.
‘Had it happened over a populated area it, would’ve rattled some windows and probably terrified a lot of people, but I don’t think it would’ve done any real damage.’
Plait estimates that, given the explosive energy of the most recent fireball, it was likely to be around five to seven meters wide.
It is believed to have exploded about 18 miles (30km) above the Atlantic Ocean, 6 miles above tje troposphere, the atmospheric layer where the Earth’s weather occurs.
It is unlikely that anyone saw it, but it was probably picked up by the military, who record atmospheric explosions.
‘Impacts like this happen several times per year on average, with most going unseen,’ Plait said.
SOURCE: ELLIE ZOLFAGHARIFARD