Early Wednesday morning, at 3:27:20 AM Eastern Time, a piece of an asteroid, about 2 feet in diameter and weighing over 100 pounds, entered Earth’s atmosphere above the Georgia/Tennessee border, just south of Cleveland. The meteor was moving northeast at 56,000 miles per hour, and began to break apart north east of Ocoee, at an altitude of 33 miles. A second, fragmentation occurred less than half a second later, at an altitude of 29 miles. NASA cameras lost track of the fireball pieces at an altitude of 21 miles, by which time they had slowed to a speed of 19,400 mph. Sensors on the ground recorded sound waves (“sonic booms”) from this event, and there are indications on Doppler weather radar of a rain of small meteoritic particles falling to the ground east of Cleveland, Tennessee.
Recorded by all six NASA cameras in the Southeast, this fireball was one of the brightest observed by the network in 5 years of operations. From Chickamauga, Georgia, the meteor was 20 times brighter than the Full Moon; shadows were cast on the ground as far south as Cartersville.