SMART

Watch an impressive fireball streak across the Andalusian sky

The incandescent rock, which was as bright as the full moon, entered the atmosphere at a speed of 256,000 kilometres an hour and an altitude of 128 kilometres

ISABEL MÉNDEZ Malaga

On Sunday morning, 15 May, a fireball as bright as the full moon crossed the sky over Andalucía, almost as a prelude to Monday's spectacular total lunar eclipse. Astrophysicist José María Madiedo says it entered the atmosphere at 6.08am at a speed of 256,000 kilometres an hour, and had come from a comet.

The sudden friction as it met the Earth's atmosphere at this enormous speed made the meteoroid seem incandescent, creating a ball of fire. It began at an altitude of 128 kilometres, straight above the town of La Fábrica in north-west Granada province, then continued north-west and extinguished at a height of 82 kilometres above Fernán-Núñez in Cordoba province. Altogeher, the fireball travelled about 95 kilometres through the atmosphere.

Its presence was picked up by the SMART project detectors from monitoring stations in Calar Alto, the Sierra Nevada, Seville, La Sagra (Granada), Huelva, El Aljarafe and La Hita (Toledo).