A DAZZLING fireball has hurtled across the sky of central Spain.

The bolide, spotted over Spain on March 12, at 2:24 am local time (equivalent to 1:24 universal time), was observed by several witnesses who reported the phenomenon on social networks.

According to astrophysicist Jose María Madiedo, from the Andalucian Astrophysics Institute (IAA-CSIC), the glittering fireball was generated by a rock (a meteoroid) from an asteroid that hit the atmosphere at about 53,000 km/h.

The sudden friction as it met the Earth’s atmosphere at this enormous speed made the meteoroid seem incandescent, creating a ball of fire which overflew the region of Madrid and the province of Segovia.

The fireball began at an altitude of about 74 km over the locality of Pedrezuela (Madrid), moved northwest, and ended at a height of around 33 km over Navalilla (province of Segovia).

However, the great luminosity that this solidus reached meant that it could be seen from more than 700 kilometers away from those places.

Throughout its trajectory there were several explosions that caused sudden increases in its luminosity and that were due to abrupt ruptures of the rock.

The total distance that the fireball travelled through the atmosphere before extinguishing itself was about 77 kilometers and the rock was totally destroyed in the atmosphere, meaning no fragment managed to reach the ground.

Its presence was picked up by the SMART project detectors from monitoring stations in Calar Alto, the Sierra Nevada, Seville, La Sagra (Granada), Huelva, Huelva, Breda (Tarragona) and Sant Celoni (Girona),

The event has been analysed by the principal investigator of the SMART project: Dr. Jose M. Madiedo, from the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalucia (IAA-CSIC).


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