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A meteor streaking through the night sky over Myanmar during the Geminid meteor shower on December 14 2018.
At precisely 11:48 am on December 18, 2018, a large space rock heading straight for Earth at a speed of 19 miles per second exploded into a vast ball of fire as it entered the atmosphere, 15.9 miles above the Bering Sea.
Event - Fish - Waters - Russia - Alaska
From below, the only witnesses to this fiery event may have been the fish that inhabit the frigid waters between Russia and Alaska, as no human eye caught sight of it.
A meteor is the luminous phenomenon that results when an asteroid or other celestial body enters the Earth's atmosphere. It is commonly called a shooting star. If it does not fully vaporize and some part of it hits the Earth's surface, it is called a meteorite.
Researchers - Event - Peter - Brown - Scientist
One of the first researchers to detect the event was Peter Brown, a meteor scientist at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Western Ontario.
On March 8, he was poring over December data from the system used by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization to detect atmospheric explosions caused by nuclear tests.
System - Sensors - Infrasound - Ear - Distance
The system is comprised of seismic and acoustic sensors capable of picking up infrasound, inaudible to the human ear, at a distance of tens of thousands of miles.
"Many of them detected the sound waves from this explosion," he told AFP. "If you were directly under it, it would have been deafening."
Satellites - Explosion
US military satellites spotted the explosion immediately.
But it was not until March 8 that the Air Force officially informed NASA, which logged the event in the database of fireballs it has kept since 1988, according to Lindley Johnson, NASA's Planetary Defense Officer.
Website - Minutes - AFP
"It was almost immediately published on our website, within 10 minutes, I would say," he told AFP.
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