WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF) — More than 70 people witnessed a 75-pound fireball light up the sky early Wednesday morning during the supermoon.
Newsweek says that Amateur astronomer, Bill Stewart from Ceredo, West Virginia, was filming the supermoon when he caught the explosion on video. Daily Mail reported that the blaze sightings were reported from nine states, including Georgia and Ohio.
NASA scientists have suggested the fireball was caused by a comet fragment that burnt up while falling through Earth’s atmosphere.
Eyewitnesses say the fireball made two audible booms, flashed brightly, and broke into three fragments. One woman says her house shook after the explosion, which scientists say generated the energy of roughly 2 tons of TNT.
The fragment possibly entered the Earth’s atmosphere about 50 miles above Krypton, Kentucky, moving 37,000 miles per hour, creating a flash five times brighter than the full moon.
Fireballs, or bolides, are caused by larger-than-average meteors that fall to Earth and quickly burn in the atmosphere because of intense friction.
Operations manager for the American Meteor Society, Mike Hankey, says it is possible that meteorites survived and are lying in the woods near the eastern border of Kentucky and Tennessee.
The comet that the fragment originated from is unknown but is believed to have come from the inner solar systems debris field.