A bright fireball crossed the sky late on the night of September 14th in the UK.
Initially, some observers thought the swirling ball of light could be a piece of space junk, possibly from one of SpaceX’s Starlink satellites. But after some quick calculations, the British Meteor Network determined that the fireball was caused by a small space rock that had plunged into Earth’s atmosphere.
“We’ve analyzed it from many more angles. It’s definitely a meteorite, probably a small piece of an asteroid breaking up. asteroidIt has entered the orbit of an asteroid,” said astronomer John McLean of the British Meteor Network. GuardianThe UK Meteor Network is a group of citizen scientists using 172 cameras installed across the UK to analyze footage of possible meteors.
According to Network, the meteor entered the atmosphere at a speed of 51,1119 km (31,764 miles per hour).
Related: How many meteorites hit Earth each year?
Based on meteor approach angle Earth’s atmospherenetwork scientists suspect the space rock plummeted at an angle that carried it over Wales, the Irish Sea, Belfast and Ireland. It may have rained down in the Atlantic Ocean near the island of Islay in Scotland.
Steve Owens, astronomer and science operations manager at the Glasgow Science Center in Scotland, said: told BBC News That Wednesday’s fireball was probably caused by a space rock the size of a golf ball.
Fireball video shared by UK Meteor Network on Twitter (opens in new tab)showed a meteor burning over Paisley, Scotland at 10 p.m. local time.
One of the best fireball videos I’ve seen tonight. An investigation is underway to ascertain what the object was. meteors and space debris. https://t.co/Ko1lKRoPutSeptember 14, 2022
“Usually these little meteors burn up and everything in the atmosphere disappears and evaporates, but last night it was bigger than the little dust that causes a normal meteor,” Owens told BBC News.
Meteors like the one that triggered Wednesday’s fireball aren’t uncommon earth, but most of these fiery rocks flare up and put out flames in the open sea, where humans cannot see them, because most of the Earth is covered by oceans. states that small rocks like Wednesday night hit the Earth’s atmosphere every day and simply disintegrate. According to NASA, over the past two decades, US government sensors have spotted about 600 fireballs caused by asteroids up to several meters long.
NASA and the European Space Agency monitor the sky every night for asteroids that could hit Earth. Called near-Earth objects (NEOs), these rocks orbit the Sun like the planets in our solar system, reaching within 30 million miles (48 million kilometers) of Earth’s orbit. Since NASA began monitoring his NEO in 1998, Over 19,000 asteroid. About half of them are over 460 feet (140 m). Fortunately, according to NASA, there are no known NEOs of his who pose a threat to Earth for the next 100 years.
Originally published in Live Science.