A Huge Fireball Just Lit Up the Sky & Caused a Sonic Boom Before Slamming Into Earth

Beyoncé, Cirque du Soleil, Meryl Streep -- they may be some of the best performers of our time, but face it, they've got nothing on outer space. Our solar system can put on a show like no other, from sunup to sundown, and if you have any doubts about that, then look no further than this video of a giant fireball that lit up the sky over Russia over the weekend -- and entered the atmosphere with so much force that it caused a sonic boom that could be heard from several cities. 

The meteorite, which was spotted by observers in the cities of Kursk, Lipetsk, Voronzeh, and Orel, shot through the sky in the middle of the day on Saturday, according to the International Meteor Organization. Fortunately, a car's dash-cam manage to catch it streaking down to Earth, briefly lighting up the sky like a flashbulb and leaving a conspicuous streak of smoke in its wake. It's unlikely any normal person would have had the reflexes to capture it themselves, considering the thing was traveling at a whopping 32,200 miles per hour, according to NASA. It was also spotted by a weather satellite overhead.

Although the rock that caused the fireball wasn't big enough to be detected ahead of time (and wouldn't have been considered a threat by scientists anyway), it did hit the atmosphere pretty hard, with an estimated impact energy of 2.8 kilotons. In fact, it was most powerful fireball to hit Earth since late last year.

Thankfully, no injuries or serious damage as a result of the impact have been reported, though it's safe to assume it startled plenty of people who were around to see it. Just a heads up though, this sort of thing happensmore often than you might think. 


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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.