NASA meteor: A 'hypersonic' fireball just hit Australia with the power of a NUCLEAR bomb

The incredible meteor lit up the night skies as it passed over the south coast of Australia on Tuesday, May 21. 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.”

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Shortly after the incident, eyewitnesses flooded social media with photos and videos clips of the fireball.

Lyall Furphy tweeted: “I got a great view of it while driving to Adelaide.”

Alexandra Marshall tweeted: “That meteor dropped in to say, ‘hi!’ and remind us all that it has much bigger siblings who are far less considerate with their landing options.”

And Melanie Remen, who caught the meteor on video, tweeted: “Wow! One of our security cameras caught the Meteor in Adelaide on Tuesday night, wicked!”

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One video, in particular, shows a bright flash of light turn night into day over the Royal Adelaide Hospital in Adelaide, South Australia.

Based on NASA’s tracking systems, the fireball erupted 2.21pm UK time or 11.21pm South Australia time.

In the terrifying clip, a bright spot of light is seen streaking across the sky, gradually building in intensity.

When the fireball erupts, a small point of white-greenish light violently turns into a big, orange ball of flame.

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NASA aerospace engineer Dr Steve Chesley estimated the meteor could have been about the size of a small car.

However, the force of entering the atmosphere at “hypersonic velocities” would have caused the space rock to crumble and fall apart.

The meteor expert told ABC Radio: “You wouldn’t want it to land on your head but these wouldn’t really do any damage on the ground.

“What the folks there along the coast of South Australia saw was a spectacular light show, probably a very loud sonic boom that would rattle the windows, this wasn’t big enough to break windows I expect, and then just small pebbles falling to the Earth and not at hypersonic velocities, they slow down very quickly.”