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.READ MORE: A 'Booming' Start To 2022: Possible Meteor Explosion Felt Throughout Pittsburgh Region
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.
Satellite lightning detection can pick up on meteors. There was a quick event at 11:26am (tiny, green blip), which lines to with the timing of this morning's "boom". This is just an idea, while other possibilities are being researched. pic.twitter.com/XDhCPbHs41
— Ray Petelin (@RayPetelinWx) January 1, 2022
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.
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.