Meteor hits atmosphere above Brazil at 61,000 KM per hour ‘Night turned into day’

Meteor hits atmosphere above Brazil at 61,000 KM per hour ‘Night turned into day’

10/08/2020

A bright fireball lit up the skies of Brazil as a meteor exploded over the South American country. Stunned onlookers watched a flash of light brighten up the night’s sky as the small meteor entered the atmosphere.

Cameras in the state of Rio Grande do Sul captured the phenomenon, giving experts a chance to analyse the footage.

Data from the Brazilian Meteor Observation Network (BRAMON) revealed the small meteor hit the atmosphere at 17 kilometres per second.

This translates to slightly over 61,000 kilometres an hour, showing just how fact objects in space travel.

Thankfully, the meteor was only a matter of metres in size, meaning it simply broke up as it hit the atmosphere.

The International Meteor Organisation (IMO) said: “A bright fireball occurred around 04h 08min UT over Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul state), when a very bright and 6-second lasting meteor was reported by nearly 40 witnesses, and captured by cameras.

“According to BRAMON (Brazilian Meteor Observation Network), it even ‘the night turned into day for a few moments’ when the fireball intensely flashed.

“A light curve feature which is easily detected on the numerous videos of the event.

“BRAMON first analysis of videos allows to build a rough trajectory for the luminous path of the meteor, which started being visible over Eastern Caxias do Sul, at an altitude close to 90 km.

“Fireball then travelled North with a 17 km/s initial atmospheric entry speed and an angle of 45° relative to the horizontal.

“Final flash occurred when meteoroid was 22 km altitude over the city of Vacaria (Rio Grande do Sul).”

Fireballs happen when small space rocks hit the atmosphere at staggering speeds.

Air seeps into the pores of the space rock, pushing it apart which causes it to explode.

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The IMO said: “Fireballs are meteors that appear brighter than normal.

“Due to the velocity at which they strike the Earth’s atmosphere, fragments larger than one millimetre have the capability to produce a bright flash as they streak through the heavens above.

“These bright meteors are what we call fireballs and they often strike fear and awe for those who witness them.”

Perhaps the most famous fireball struck over Chelyabinsk in 2013. The explosion, caused by a 20-metre meteor, was so powerful it smashed windows across the city and injured more than 1,000 people.

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