But then what were all of us so preoccupied with on 18 December that we missed such an extremely rare event? An event that occurs just “two or three times every century”, according to an expert at NASA who talked to the BBC.
At Maxsciences, we had our noses raised up at the skies after we reported the existence of Farout, the farthest celestial object from the solar system ever observed. And apparently like NASA, we did not notice that a meteorite had exploded 25 kilometres from the Earth.
Three months after the event NASA announced the 2nd most powerful meteorite to have exploded over the earth in 30 years on 18 December. The episode occurred 25.6 km from the surface of the Earth and generated and explosion equivalent to 173 kilotons of TNT. The equivalent of 10 times the amount of energy released by the atomic bomb that struck Hiroshima in 1945. After turning into a “fireball”, it disintegrated and the debris from the explosion fell into the Bering Sea, off the shore of Kamchatka, Russia.
According to data collected by US military satellites and a Japanese satellite and relayed by NASA, we know more about this event today. It would have been around noon (local time) and the meteorite, which measured less than 120 metres in diameter, would have crossed the atmosphere at a speed of 32km per second.
The second most powerful meteorite
How could we miss such an experience? Especially since it was the most powerful meteorite to have exploded over the earth since 15 February 2013. Indeed, 6 years ago, the Chelyabinsk meteor was observed in the sky of the south of the Urals (Russia) and fragmented between 20 and 40 kilometers above the earth, generating an estimated 440 kilotons of TNT. A phenomenon that was largely taken over by the media at the time of its development.
So why not the one that happened over the Bering Sea last December? Some experts argue that the remote area of the impact site may explain the late detection.
Kelly Fast, a scientist at NASA, prefers to jokingly justify herself: "In our defense, there is a lot of water on this planet". Explanations, for now, that seem very light for such a powerful phenomenon …
Check out the video above for more...