A week before Christmas, residents of Georgia reported spotting a mysterious bright fireball in the sky one evening. NASA reported the object has been identified as a meteor that entered Earth’s atmosphere. The agency says all six of its ‘all sky’ meteor cameras in the Southeast region picked up the flaming rock as it traveled around 29,000 miles per hour after crossing into the atmosphere at a steep angle. Aside from the spectacle, the meteor disintegrated before it hit the Earth, so the only trace it left behind was NASA’s photographic evidence.
NASA officials said in a statement the meteor shown in the video clip above is a piece of an asteroid weighing around 150 pounds and at least 16 inches in diameter. Despite its size and initial speed, the meteor ultimately posed no threat to life on Earth. According to the NASA statement, “cameras tracked it to an altitude of 17 miles above the town of Locust Grove, where it had slowed to a speed of 9000 miles per hour, at which point the meteor ceased producing light by burning up.”
Some 3,000 meteors land on Earth each year, most without incident. Crossing into the Earth’s atmosphere causes the meteor chunks to slow their fall dramatically and typically burn up, leaving only very small fragments. NASA said it’s possible some fragments survived from this meteor, but there have been no reports of sightings or damage from any debris. Rather, we have only the satellite images and the above video, which was captured by a camera located in Cartersville, Georgia.
Images via NASA