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NASA snapped that monster meteor fireball over the Bering Sea

Kaboom! The sneaky fireball exploded in a remote spot with 10 times the energy of an atomic bomb.

NASA's Terra satellite caught sight of the fireball on December 18, 2018.

NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL-Caltech, MISR Team

A large meteoroid exploded over the Bering Sea on December 18, releasing an estimated 173 kilotons of energy, and almost no one noticed thanks to its remote location. On Friday, NASA shared images captured by its Earth-watching Terra satellite showing a view of the massive fireball in action. 

The image shows the meteor's smoky path over the sea. It looks like a dark smudge across the clouds. 

NASA also released a GIF. "The orange-tinted cloud that the fireball left behind by super-heating the air it passed through can be seen below and to the right of the GIF's center," says NASA.

The space agency says the fireball unleashed more than 10 times the energy of the Hiroshima atomic bomb from World War II. That's less powerful than the devastating fireball that impacted Chelyabinsk in Russia in 2013, but it's still the second-largest meteor explosion of the last few decades.

The Bering Sea fireball was far enough away from civilization to not affect any humans, but it's a sobering reminder of the power of incoming space rocks. 

This is why NASA is working on ways to protect our planet from wayward asteroids that could potentially be much more dangerous than the recent meteor.