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On October 8, 2009, a bright explosion was heard and felt in the morning sky above Indonesia. Without much news coverage over the following three weeks, a scientific report has just now been released that analyzes what happened. So, what happened?


At about 11:00 a.m. local time (300 Universal Time, UT) on October 8, 2009, people around the town of Bone, in the province of South Sulawesi, island of Sulewesi, in Indonesia saw a very bright fireball in the late morning sky.

Experts now say it was a meteor hitting the atmosphere of Earth, and exploding with the energy of approximately 40,000 to 50,000 tons (40 to 50 kilotons) of TNT.

According to a Sky and Telescope article, the blast was “… about three times the energy of the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.” [Sky and Telescope (10/25/09): “Cosmic Blast Rattles Indonesia”]

In the October 23, 2009 NASA/JPL Near Earth Object (NEO) Program article “Asteroid Impactor Reported over Indonesia,” it states that “… energy of about 50 kilotons (the equivalent of 100,000 pounds of TNT explosives) occurred.”

A video taken by an amateur photographer, along with commentary by a TV station, appears on the YouTube website “Benda Mirip Meteor Jatuh di Bone, Sulawesi Utara -- MAPer1ck9 Files

The analysis of the event, by Elizabeth Silber and Peter Brown, both of the Meteor Infrasound Group, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Western Ontario (London, Ontario), state that the explosion was registered at low-frequency atmospheric waves on instruments at several very-long wavelength infrasound stations.

The stations are are maintained by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).

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William Atkins

William Atkins completed educational degrees in science (bachelor’s in physics and mathematics) from Illinois State University (Normal, United States) and business (master’s in entrepreneurship and bachelor’s in industrial relations) from Western Illinois University

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