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Science And Nature

Major fireball seen over UK wascaused by chunk of space rock

Planetary scientists have already been racing to determine the foundation of a bright fireball seen over elements of the united kingdom on 14 September the data now points to it being truly a meteor instead of re-entering space debris

Space 16 September 2022

By Will Gater

The fireball seen in the UK on 14 September

The fireball seen over elements of the united kingdom on 14 September

UK Meteor Network/Twitter

Planetary scientists attempting to establish the foundation of a bright fireball seen over Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England on the evening of 14 September now believe the phenomenon was the effect of a small little bit of asteroid hitting the atmosphere. The theory that it had been space junk re-entering the atmosphere is currently looking not as likely.

The spectacular event, spotted at about 10pm local time, was caught in various videos on social media marketing, which showed a dazzling whitish-green light moving at speed over the sky, in some instances with a trail of glowing material behind it.

During writing,around 900 eyewitness accountshave been submitted to a global catalogue of fireball events maintained by the American Meteor Society and the International Meteor Organization. Some observers even reported hearing a rumble following a event, which initial analysis suggests occurred over an area close to the islands of Islay and Arran in Scotland.

Initially, it wasnt clear if the fireball was the consequence of a meteoroid an all natural space rock entering Earths atmosphere and learning to be a meteor, or the re-entry of a bit of debris from human space activity, even though some early evidence did indicate the latter.

[The fireball] had an extremely shallow entry angle, a large amount of fragmentation, that is typical of space junk, also it looks slowish. Space rocks are generally a little faster. However, were still crunching the numbers to obtain a good estimate on the velocity, that will tell us for certain whether that is space rock or space not, said Luke Daly, a planetary scientist at the University of Glasgow, UK, and person in the united kingdom Fireball Alliance, at that time.

However, a subsequent analysis of the fireballs path by Denis Vida, a meteor expert at Western University in Canada, indicates that the fireball was the consequence of an area rock that dived through the atmosphere at a speed of nearly 32,000 miles each hour, or around 51,500 kilometres each hour.

Meteors typically enter the atmosphere at high speeds, 75 to 80 thousand miles each hour, saysJohn Maclean at the united kingdom Meteor Network, whose cameras captured the phenomenon. This might mean between about 121,000 and 129,000 kilometres each hour. Space junk will be much slower, at maybe 25 to 30 thousand miles each hour based on the original orbit velocity.

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