Planetary scientists have been racing to determine the origin of a shiny fireball seen over components of the UK on 14 September – the proof now factors to it being a meteor quite than re-entering area particles
16 September 2022
Planetary scientists working to determine the origin of a bright fireball seen over Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England on the night of 14 September now consider the phenomenon was brought on by a small piece of asteroid hitting the ambiance. The concept that’s was area junk re-entering the ambiance is now trying much less probably.
The spectacular occasion, noticed at about 10pm native time, was caught in quite a few movies on social Media, which confirmed a stunning whitish-green gentle transferring at velocity throughout the sky, in some circumstances with a path of glowing materials behind it.
At the time of writing, round 900 eyewitness accounts had been submitted to a world catalogue of fireball occasions maintained by the American Meteor Society and the International Meteor Organization. Some observers even reported listening to a rumble following the occasion, which preliminary evaluation suggests occurred over a area close to the islands of Islay and Arran in Scotland.
Initially it wasn’t clear if the fireball was the results of a meteoroid – a pure area rock – getting into Earth’s ambiance and turning into a meteor, or the re-entry of a chunk of particles from human area exercise, though some early proof did level to the latter.
“[The fireball] had a very shallow entry angle, a substantial amount of fragmentation, which is typical of space junk, and it looks slowish. Space rocks tend to be a bit faster. However, we’re still crunching the numbers to get a good estimate on the velocity which will tell us for sure whether this is space rock or space not,” stated Luke Daly, a planetary scientist on the University of Glasgow, UK, and member of the UK Fireball Alliance on the time.
However a subsequent evaluation of the fireball’s path by Denis Vida, a meteor professional at Western University in Canada, signifies that the fireball was the results of an area rock that dived by way of the ambiance at a velocity of practically 32 thousand miles per hour (51.5 thousand kilometres per hour).
“Meteors typically enter the atmosphere at very high speeds, 75 to 80 thousand miles per hour,” says John Maclean on the UK Meteor Network, whose cameras captured the phenomenon. This would equate to between about 121 and 129 thousand kilometres per hour. “Space junk would be much slower, at maybe 25 to 30 thousand miles per hour depending on the original orbit velocity.”
Sign as much as our free Launchpad publication for a voyage throughout the galaxy and past, each Friday
More on these matters: