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Astronomy

Video: Impressive fireball, brighter than a full moon, streaks across the night sky in the south of Spain

Along its trajectory there were several explosions that caused sudden increases in its luminosity and it travelled a total distance of about 122 km through the atmosphere before it fizzled out

Almudena Nogués

Malaga

Monday, 15 April 2024, 12:35

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Those who went to bed in the early hours of the morning were in for a surprise in the Malaga sky on Sunday. At 2.35am an impressive fireball was seen in the province, and it was also captured and recorded by the SMART project detectors. Its brightness was greater than that of a full Moon. Several eyewitnesses also observed this fireball and reported the sightings on social media.

The researcher in charge of the SMART project, astrophysicist José María Madiedo from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía IAA-CSIC, explained, the fireball was seen when a rock from an asteroid entered the Earth's atmosphere at a speed of about 65,000 kilometres per hour. «Such rocks that penetrate the atmosphere at high speed are called meteoroids.

The friction generated when the rock violently collides with the air causes its surface to heat up and become incandescent, generating a fireball that, on Sunday morning, started at an altitude of about 90 km above Sedella in Malaga province's Axarquia area. From there it advanced north-eastwards, crossing the province of Granada and finally fizzling out at an altitude of about 25 km over the town of Solera (Jaén province),« said the expert.

Along its trajectory, the rock produced several explosions that caused sudden increases in its luminosity due to several abrupt ruptures, as shown in the recorded images. Before it was finally extinguished, the fireball travelled a total distance of about 122 km through the Earth's atmosphere.

The phenomenon was recorded by SMART project detectors at ground stations located in Huelva, La Hita (Toledo), Calar Alto, Sierra Nevada, La Sagra (Granada) and Seville.

SMART is a project carried out within the framework of the Southwest European Meteor and Bolide Network (SWEMN). This network is coordinated by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC) and aims to continuously monitor the sky in order to record and study the impact against the Earth's atmosphere of rocks from other solar system objects.

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