MELBOURNE – NASA officials have confirmed that a rogue meteorite has near-missed the coast of Australia, striking the Great Australian Bight with the force of a nuclear bomb.
The incredible meteor lit up the night skies as it passed over the south coast of Australia on Tuesday, according to NASA’s Centre for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), the meteor entered the atmosphere at 11.5km per second or 25,724mph.
The meteor then partially broke up and crash landed in the waters of the Great Australian Bight bay some 186 miles (300km) west-southwest of Mount Gambier. Before this happened, however, the fireball released enough energy in the sky to equal a “small nuclear bomb”.
According to NASA, the meteor entered the atmosphere with the force of 1.6 kilotons or 1,600 tonnes of TNT.
Thankfully, Professor Phil Bland from Curtin University said the space rock exploded too high up for the meteor to cause any significant damage.
When a 65.6ft-wide (20m) meteor exploded over Russia’s Chelyabinsk Oblast in 2013, more than 1,000 people were injured by blown out windows.
Professor Bland said: “It’s in the range of a small nuclear weapon. Because it exploded at an altitude of 31.5 km it didn’t do any damage.”