Pittsburgh-Scientists have released estimates of the size and mass of an explosive meteor, which is believed to have caused a huge roar and ground shaking in parts of the suburbs of Pittsburgh on New Year’s Day.
NASA’s Meteor Observation social media site said that a nearby infrasound station recorded the shock wave when the meteor split, causing a sonic boom. This data allows one to estimate that the energy released is equivalent to 30 tons (27,216 kg) of TNT.
Officials stated that a “reasonable assumption” of a meteor speed of approximately 45,000 mph (72,420 km/h) would allow a “rough” estimate of its size, which is about one yard in diameter and close to half a ton (454 kg) in mass. .
They said that if it weren’t for cloudy weather, it would be easy to see in the sky during the day—perhaps about 100 times the brightness of the full moon.
National Weather Service meteorologist Shannon Hefran told the Tribune comment that satellite data recorded flashes over Washington County shortly before 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, and officials believe this was caused by meteors “passing through the atmosphere.” Hefferan said that a similar incident occurred in Hardy County, West Virginia on September 17.
Residents in South Hills and other areas reported that they heard loud noises and felt their houses shake and rattle. Officials in Allegheny County said they have confirmed that there is no seismic activity and no lightning.
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