Fireball Meteor Explodes Over Southwest China

Posted: Oct 6 2017, 3:10am CDT | by , Updated: Oct 6 2017, 3:27am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
Fireball Meteor Explodes over Southeast China
Credit: Video Sina.com

A giant fireball streaks across skies in China Wednesday night

An extremely large and bright fireball was spotted blazing across Southwest China’s Yunnan Province Wednesday night. The strange fiery object was sighted during the Mid-Autumn Festival while people were looking at the full moon. The incident left skywatchers wondering if it was a meteor or something else. Chinese Academy of Science suggests it was possibly a meteor.

“The fireball was a very small heavenly body, compared with an asteroid.” Researcher Wang Xiaobin with Yunnan Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences said in a statement.

Fireballs are usually just big meteors that fall into the Earth and burn up. Each day, several thousands of meteors enter the Earth’s atmosphere but most of them go unnoticed due to their small size.

They can range in size from small grains to 3-feet wide objects. The biggest fireball recorded was in Russia in 2013, when a 65-feet Chelyabinsk meteor entered Earth's atmosphere at around 19 kilometers per second. The explosion was equivalent to about 600 thousand tons of TNT. For nearby observers it briefly appeared brighter than the Sun and caused sunburns to hundreds of people.

There are no reports of any damage or injury from the recent meteor. It was just a lot of light and booming sound. The Yunnan fireball entered the Earth’s atmosphere at a velocity of 14.6 kilometers per second and has the equivalent energy force of 540 tons of TNT explosives.

"We first heard a big bang, and then saw a light. We thought it was an earthquake, but did not feel the jolt.” Villager Duji told Xinhua

The phenomenon was also caught on video and has gone viral. People reported seeing it over a large area.

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