Days after aIn the skies of three southern states, NASA scientists confirmed that fragments of the meteor were found on the ground in Mississippi.
NASA said the exceptionally bright meteor was going at 35,000 mph (scientists had previously estimated it was traveling at 55,000 mph) when it exploded into the sky near the Louisiana-Mississippi border.
“There are confirmed reports of meteorites found in the area east of Natchez,” NASA said, sharing an image of one of the meteorite pieces in a Facebook post on Monday.
Dozens of people in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi reported seeing the meteor in the sky around 8 am Wednesday after hearing loud explosions in the area.
At its peak, the fireball was more than 10 times brighter than a full moon, officials said. The fireball disintegrated about 34 miles over a swampy area in Louisiana, generating “energy equivalent to 3 tons of TNT,” NASA said.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency previously posted a satellite image on Facebook in which the glowing object can be seen just east of the Louisiana-Mississippi border, along with confirmation from NASA. The agency said the fireball caused no injury or property damage and that it ran parallel to the Mississippi River.
The law dictates that the meteorites belong to the owner of the property they fell on, so NASA said it will not reveal the location of any fragments found.
NASA also said it would not authenticate any possible meteorite discoveries and directed the public to a meteorite website hosted by Washington University in St. Louis.
“We are not meteorite people, as our primary goal is to protect spacecraft and astronauts from meteoroids,” NASA said. So we won’t be able to identify any strange rocks you might find, please don’t send us photos of rocks. “
NASA has said that, if confirmed, this will mark the fifth meteorite fall recorded in Mississippi. The others occurred in 1854, 1910, 1922 and 2012.