Happy New Year, From a Space Rock


A security camera captured a glimpse of the meteor that exploded over Pittsburgh on January 2nd. Photo provided by Sky News.

James Randazzo, General

No better way to start 2022 than with a BOOM! On Saturday, January 1st, 2022,  a meteor equivalent to 30 tons of TNT exploded over the city of Pittsburgh.


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has stated that the meteor was brighter than the planet Venus and is believed to have weighed about 1,000 pounds. The meteor measured a yard in diameter and broke through the earth’s atmosphere at 45,000 mph. The meteor hit around 11:20 A.M. According to the Administration, meteors this size actually break the Earth’s atmosphere every 3-4 days, which is quite more often than we may think. However, since the earth is mostly covered in water, most of the time nobody sees or hears the disruptions these bodies of rock cause. 


This time, when the meteor exploded, it let off a loud boom that many heard throughout the region. Some people even reported rumbles in their homes and rattling windows. Since it was a very cloudy and rainy day, the meteor could not be seen clearly. Washington County had no lightning or thunder activity in the area according to the Weather Service meteorologists. 


Scientists started their investigation of the cause of the boom by eliminating unlikely causes, such as fireworks and thunder. Most meteors break apart 20 miles into Earth’s upper atmosphere and produce a low-frequency infrasound that is inaudible to humans. The sound waves that traveled down from the air caused the ground to shake and homes to rattle. When thinking of a meteor explosion, most people fear flaming rocks falling from explosions. Meanwhile, damage caused by the blast’s pressure is a much more realistic concern. Thankfully, no real or irreparable damage was caused by the explosion, nor fatalities.


Meteors have been entertaining people in Michigan, Puerto Rico, and other countries in recent years. The meteor that exploded over Pittsburgh is having jokingly comparisons to the film “Don’t Look Up”, a recent Netflix original centered around astronomers who are attempting to warn the world about a devastating comet heading toward Earth. 


It’s obvious that astronomical anomalies have been captivating people for years. Had it been a clear day, the blast would have been 100 times brighter than a full moon. Some civilians say that “it would have been pretty cool to see.” As much of an interesting sight it may have been to see, concerns over a meteor destroying Earth have dissipated after Pittsburgh’s explosion.