A SPECTACULAR fireball, as bright as the full moon, crossed the skies over Andalucia yesterday, Sunday, May 15.

According to the astrophysicist Jose Maria Madiedo, from the Andalucian Astrophysics Institute (IAA-CSIC), the event was generated by a rock (a meteoroid) from a comet that hit the atmosphere at about 256,000 km/h at 6:08 am (Spanish peninsular local time).

The high-speed collision with the atmosphere caused the rock to become incandescent generating a white-hot meteorite that began at an altitude of some 128 kilometres above the town of La Fabrica (northwest of Granada).

From there it advanced in a north-westerly direction and was extinguished at an altitude of 82 kilometres above the town of Fernan-Nuñez, in the province of Cordoba.

The fireball travelled a total distance in the atmosphere of about 95 kilometres.

This bright meteor was recorded in the framework of the SMART project, operated by the Southwestern Europe Meteor Network (SWEMN) from the meteor-observing stations located at Calar Alto, Sierra Nevada, Sevilla, La Sagra (Granada), Huelva, El Aljarafe, and La Hita (Toledo).

The detectors of the SMART project operate within the scope of the Meteorological and Earth Observation Network of Southwest Europe (SWEMN), which aims to continuously monitor the sky, in order to record and study the impact on the terrestrial atmosphere of rocks from different objects in the Solar System.


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