WASHINGTON: NASA Friday (March 22) released satellite images of a powerful meteor that came just above the Bering Sea on December 18, but went unnoticed until months later.
The explosion released about 173 kilotons of energy, more than 10 times as large as the atomic bomb over Hiroshima in World War II.
Pictures captured minutes after the fireball was divided into the atmosphere, showing the shadow of the meteor path thrown on top of clouds, extended by the sun's low position.
The superheated air shifts the clouds to an orange tint in the meteor wake.
The photographs were taken by two NASA instruments aboard the Terra satellite.
A still image was taken at 2350 GMT, while five of the nine cameras on the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument took another sequence of images in 2355, which NASA assembled in a GIF showing the orange track
NASA estimates that the meteor occurred at. 23.48 GMT.
Meteors are rocks from outer space that become glowing when entering Earth's atmosphere due to friction. They are also known as shooting stars. Pieces that survive intact and hit the ground are known as meteorites.
It was the strongest explosion in the atmosphere since the fireball that burst over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk in 2013. It was 440 kilotons and left 1,500 people wounded, mainly from glass flying out of broken windows.
This time the explosion arose over water, hundreds of kilometers from the Russian coast.
The first picture of the event was taken by a Japanese weather satellite and published only this week.