A loud bang was preceded by a zigzag fireball seen in three southern states
Scientists confirmed Thursday that a loud explosion set off an intermittent fireball seen in three southern states.
“This is one of the most beautiful events I’ve seen in the GLM (Geostationary Lightning Maps) data,” said Bill Cook, chief of NASA’s Office of Meteor Environments at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
The object, which scientists dubbed a polyide, moved toward the southwest at 55,000 miles per hour (88,500 kilometers per hour), breaking into pieces as it descended deeper into Earth’s atmosphere. It disintegrated about 34 miles (55 kilometers) over a swampy area north of the unincorporated community of Concordia Parish in Menorca, Louisiana.
The Claiborne County Emergency Management Agency posted a statement on Facebook confirming the reports and noting that the Great Bay Nuclear Power Plant was not involved.
“Citizens of Claiborne County, and local officials are aware of the loud sound that has been heard throughout the county,” the post read. “Gulf Grand Nuclear Power Plant was not involved in this incident and the site is safe. … There is no threat to the boycott and no action will be taken.”
NASA said that the fragmentation of the fireball generated enough energy to create shock waves that spread over the Earth, causing spurts and vibrations felt by people in the area.
At its height, the fireball was 10 times brighter than the full moon, NASA said.
“What struck me as unusual was the lack of eyewitness reports we gave of the sky being so clear,” Cook said. “More people who have seen it have heard it.”