An Earthgrazer Meteoroid Tracked by a NASA Telescope

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An earth-grazing fireball skimmed through the atmosphere 63 miles above South Carolina late last week, leaving a bright trail for 290 miles before burning up over Tennessee. The entire 20-second event was captured by a NASA telescope.

On May 15th at just after 8:30 pm central time, a lump of rock roughly 10 inches in diameter (the size of a basketball) entered the atmosphere above Columbia, South Carolina. The meteoroid skimmed through the upper atmosphere for 290 miles at a blistering pace of 78,000 miles per hour before burning up above the Tennessee countryside north of Chattanooga.

Images captured by ASGARD, part of the NASA All-sky Fireball Network.

The meteoroid was not part of any meteor shower, instead traipsing through near-Earth space solo. This type of meteor that just barely skims through our atmosphere is a formally known as an earthgrazer.


For more footage of fireballs, here's a daytime fireball in the skies over Toronto, Canada, and the atmospheric signal of a fireball exploding over Russia.