In April, a massive fireball lit the night sky over Florida and surprised residents. The cause has now been clarified.
West Palm Beach – Reporter Jay O’Brien was covering a different topic when his camera happened to catch a ball of fire that could be seen in the sky over West Palm Beach for a few seconds. It is April 13, 2021, 10:18 p.m. “What is that?” Asked the reporter – and with him his audience.
WOAH! Big flash and streak across sky in West Palm Beach. Happened moments ago while we were on Facebook Live for a @ CBS12 story.
Working to figure out what it was. pic.twitter.com/VDl9pFtb3h
– Jay O’Brien (@jayobtv) April 13, 2021
While nothing can be heard in Florida, the meteor is said to have caused a bang on Grand Bahama Island, the Washington Post reported. The island is about 90 kilometers from the Florida coast.
Fireball or Meteor? Astronomers speak up
Not all fireballs are alike: astronomers distinguish between the terms fireball, meteor, meteoroid, meteorite, comet, bolide and asteroid. A meteor is the light emitted from a meteoroid or asteroid that enters the atmosphere. Colloquially we call this phenomenon shooting stars.
The American Meteor Society (AMS) assumes that the space rock was traveling north between the Atlantic coast of Florida and the tip of Grand Bahama Island. Meteors reach the Earth’s outer atmosphere at a speed of around 40,000 to 260,000 kilometers per hour. So residents of the Bahamas heard the loud bang because the chunk was traveling at supersonic speed. As a rule, the rocks burn out quickly, but in rare cases a meteor makes it into the lower layers of the earth’s atmosphere.
Meteor in Germany? Kitesurfer films shooting star in his selfie of the year
A similar event occurred in Germany in 2019. The kitesurfer Dorian Cieloch was just near Cuxhaven with a GoPro on the water when he was filming an asteroid in the background.
I didn’t notice anything about it on the water and didn’t hear a bang either.
He had just pointed the camera at himself in selfie mode when the asteroid swept across the sky behind him at 2:50 p.m. on September 10, 2019.
Only when the video is already online does a viewer point out that there is a “shooting star” there. Cieloch’s recording is the best of the streak of fire that could be seen just a few seconds over the skies of Germany and the Netherlands. The European Space Agency (ESA) confirmed that it was a small asteroid.
There are always exciting sky phenomena. Astronomy fans should watch the evening sky in the first half of May. Then not only shooting stars, but also the planet Mercury can be easily recognized. Star lovers can currently watch the lyrids. This meteor shower can be seen in the night sky between April 16-25, 2021.
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