EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Both NASA and the National Weather Service Pittsburgh have confirmed that on New Year’s Day there was an explosion over Southwest Pennsylvania and they think they have an explanation as to what it was.
Many residents of Washington County reported hearing a loud explosion and some say they even saw a flash on New Year’s Day.
The US National Weather Service Pittsburgh posted a picture to their Facebook page in hopes of explaining what it was.
“One possible explanation is that a meteor exploded at some level above the ground,” the NWS wrote in their Facebook post.
They also say the “flash” happened around 11:22 a.m. EST. The image from the satellite shows “Total Optical Energy” or a measure of flash intensity.
NASA Meteor Watch’s Facebook page also provided an update on the explosion. Luckily, a nearby infrasound station registered the blast wave from the meteor as it broke apart.
According to NASA, the explosion matched the energy of 30 tons to TNT. They are also estimating that the space rock was traveling 45,000 MPH and its weight was almost a half-ton.
If not for the clouds that day, NASA says folks would have been able to see the fireball even in full daylight since it was 100 times brighter than the full moon.
The US National Weather Service Pittsburgh said it is not confirmed that it was an exploding meteor, but it seems to be the “most likely explanation.”