Tuesday, 21 March 2023
An impressive fireball crossed the skies of Andalucía in the early hours of this Tuesday morning, 21 March, and it was visible from many different parts of the region. It was recorded by the SMART project, which studies the properties of meteoroids that impact the Earth’s atmosphere.
According to the data collected by researchers, the phenomenon crossed the night sky at 2.07am and reached a brightness similar to that of the Moon.
Analysis of the event has been carried out by the astrophysicist José María Madiedo, a researcher at the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalucía (IAA-CSIC) and director of the SMART project. It revealed that the phenomenon took place when a rock from a comet entered the atmosphere at a speed of about 67 thousand kilometres per hour. Slamming into the air at this high speed, the rock's surface heated up to a temperature of several thousand degrees Celsius and became incandescent. And that incandescence is was what could be seen in the form of a fireball that began at an altitude of about 91 km above the town of Paradas (Seville province). From that point it advanced in a northeasterly direction, finally disappearing at an altitude of about 36 km above Villanueva del Rey (Seville province). It stood out for showing several explosions throughout its trajectory. These explosions, which were due to various sudden breaks in the rock, caused sudden increases in light. The fireball travelled a total distance in the Earth's atmosphere of about 63 km.
The fireball was picked up by the SMART project detectors located in Huelva, La Hita (Toledo), Calar Alto, Sierra Nevada, La Sagra (Granada), Seville, Huelva and El Aljarafe (Seville).
SMART is a project that is developed within the framework of the Southwest Europe Fireball and Meteor Network (SWEMN). This network is coordinated by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC) and its objective is to continuously monitor the sky in order to record and study the impact against the Earth's atmosphere of rocks from other objects in the Solar System.
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