Missed Us By That Much

fireball mapAn object about 500 mm across with a mass of almost 200 kg produced a bright fireball over middle Tennessee on 17 December. The event occurred at 8:20:40 PM local time. It began a bit more than 80 km above I-24 just south of Manchester and moved to the northwest at 80,000 km/h. An all sky camera in Tullahoma followed it to an altitude of 37 km just to the northwest of Shelbyville. The approximate track is shown as a dashed line near the bottom of the map. The fireball was about as bright as the full moon. The orbit implied by the object’s trajectory suggests that it was a piece of an asteroid with an aphelion in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and perihelion (closest point to the Sun) inside the orbit of Venus.

Video Credit: NASA

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