European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Paolo Nespoli captured a fireball meteor while filming the magnificent view of the planet Earth from space on Nov. 5. The fireball meteor flew over the southern Atlantic Ocean toward Kazakhstan and orbited about 250 miles above the Earth.
Detlef Koschny, the co-manager of the near-Earth object (NEO) segment of ESA’s Space Situational program, confirmed that it indeed looks like a bright meteor or fireball. He said that one could see the fireball illuminating the clouds from above, so it must have been close to them and close to the Earth’s limb. He added that it also seems to show a little tail.
Meanwhile, Nespoli shared the close-up view of time-lapse footage with the European Space Agency ground team on Nov. 16. He was excited that he finally captured a shooting star on screen. In the meantime, what he captured would likely be a bright meteor falling to Earth off the coast of South Africa, according to Newsweek.
Rudiger Jehn, a co-manager of ESA’s NEO program and a second ESA meteor scientist, calculated the speed at the time it fell to Earth. It moved at about 89,500 miles per hour, or 25 miles per second. That is about twice as fast as the typical meteor, yet could be observable, according to Jehn.
In this time-lapse video, you could also see plenty of clouds and thunderstorms that have blue flashes of lightning around. You will also view a yellow-orange airglow that could be spotted above the horizon, according to Space.
We see many meteors from the @Space_Station but I was never able to get one on camera... this time I got lucky and filmed a #fireball, a very bright and fast meteoroid falling to #Earth at about 40km/s! Can you spot it? #VITAmission https://t.co/gbMuhPqbL8 pic.twitter.com/YyZtUc22Oj— Paolo Nespoli (@astro_paolo) November 16, 2017
According to American Meteor Society, a fireball is also referred to as a very bright meteor. It has about the same magnitude as the planet Venus, which can be spotted in the morning or evening sky. One special type of fireball is called the bolide, which explodes in a bright terminal flash at its end.
If you spot a bright fireball, you could report it to the American Meteor Society. You could also report it to the general public in the form of AMS’s Fireball Sightings Log. This could let the visitors trace the fireball activity that is reported from across the North America. AMS also notifies the planetary scientists with the reports of sightings.
[Featured Image by PaulFleet/Thinkstock]