Last Thursday (2), the skies of Tokyo, Japan, were lit by a fireball that exploded in the air, generating a bang equivalent to the explosion of 165 tons of TNT, according to CNET. The phenomenon was recorded on video by several witnesses.
The fireball that emitted a brilliant light in shades of purple was observed cutting through the skies at about 02h32 (local time), in the Kanto region.
According to the International Meteor Organization (IMO), the object in question was a meteor, probably 1.6 meters in diameter and weighing 1.8 tons. Compared to the space rock that exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013, this is about 10 to 20 times less massive.
Even though it seemed small, it generated such a loud sound when it exploded on contact with the atmosphere, that it could be picked up by infrasound monitoring stations installed thousands of kilometers away, specialized in detecting nuclear tests. As the explosion took place at a higher altitude, there was no report of damage.
According to the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, events like this are common and can be observed every month. However, it is rare that it is accompanied by bangs like the one heard on this occasion, especially in the regions of large cities.