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NASA: Exploding Meteor 'Likely Culprit' In Pittsburgh's New Year's Day Boom

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - An exploding meteor with the same energy as 30 tons of TNT is the "likely culprit" in a boom heard and felt across the Pittsburgh region on New Year's Day.

Social media lit up with people questioning the loud boom, reporting windows rattling or things in their homes shaking. Satellite lightning maps, which can pick up meteors, show a quick, tiny green blip around 11:30 Saturday, which lines up with the timing of the boom.

NASA posted on its Meteor Watch Facebook page Sunday saying that a lightning mapper on a satellite picked up a strong meteor signature around the same time. A nearby infrasound station registered the blast wave as the meteor broke apart, and from the data, NASA estimates the blast had the energy of 30 tons of TNT.

Update on the New Year's Day bolide over Pennsylvania A nearby infrasound station registered the blast wave from the...

Posted by NASA Meteor Watch on Sunday, January 2, 2022

NASA said the object's size was about a yard in diameter with a mass close to half a ton. If it hadn't been cloudy, NASA said a fireball would have been easily visible, about 100 times brighter than the full moon.

The NWS and Carnegie Science Center said a meteor shower is expected to peak Sunday into Monday and the two could be connected.

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