A new fireball in the Siberian sky

Ninety-four years after the Tunguska fireball. About 11.50 p.m., 24 September 2002. A remote, semi-mountainous and sparsely populated region of Siberia near the Vitim River, northeast of Irkutsk and Lake Baikal.

A US Air Force satellite spots an object as it enters the atmosphere, but loses track of it as it falls below 30 kilometres. Moments later a second satellite records a fireball exploding in the clouded sky. A white, bright luminescence appears in the southwest and floods the whole sky. The colour of luminescence changes from white to blue and reddish-brown as it disappears in the northeast.

Virtually no one in Siberia sees the fireball, but local residents hear the sounds of the explosion up to 60 kilometres from the site. The blast waves of the explosion - with the energy of a small atomic bomb - flatten 100 square kilometres of the taiga, but no one is hurt or killed. The explosion also sends seismic waves which make windowpanes rattle and house lights swing in the village of Mama 60 kilometres away. For several days local residents notice sporadic flashing lights in the direction of the explosion.

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