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Meteoroid Captured Exploding Over Northern Greece

Meteoroid Greece
Video screenshot of the meteoroid burning in the atmosphere. Credit: National Observatory of Athens

A meteoroid was captured exploding over Metsovo in northern Greece recently by the cameras of the National Observatory of Athens (NOA).

The initial assessment from the combination of data is that “the meteoroid entered the Greek airspace in the wider area between Ioannina and the municipality of Kalambaka, south of Metsovo and at an altitude of approximately 80 km (50 mi) from the ground, NOA said.

“Due to the brightness of the flare it is possible that a piece of the original body has managed to survive the combustion and has reached the ground becoming a meteorite,” it added.

As the scientists explained, they refer approximately to the point of entry of the meteoroid into the Earth’s atmosphere and not to the area of possible impact.

The video shows the recordings from the three cameras. The video is in slow motion (0.5x) and clearly shows that the body broke up as it entered the atmosphere into at least two pieces, then a third is seen and towards the end the explosion is seen before it disappears.

The duration of the phenomenon is about 2.5 seconds and the entry speed is between 17-24 km/s.

Meteoroid and meteor: What’s the difference?

Meteoroids, which are space rocks, which range in size from dust grains to small asteroids burn up very frequently in Earth’s atmosphere. Between 90 and 95 percent of them meet this fiery fate, never reaching the ground as meteorites.

When meteoroids enter Earth’s atmosphere, or that of another planet, at high speed and burn up, they’re called meteors. This is also when we refer to them as “shooting stars.” Sometimes meteors can even appear brighter than Venus – that’s when we call them “fireballs.”

Scientists at NASA estimate that about 48.5 tons (44,000 kilograms) of meteoritic material falls on Earth each day.

Most are pieces of other, larger bodies that have been broken or blasted off. Some come from comets, others from asteroids, and some even come from the Moon and other planets. Some meteoroids are rocky, while others are metallic, or combinations of rock and metal.

This means that the vast majority of the “shooting stars” we see streaking across the night sky are actually meteoroids disintegrating due to the immense friction they experience upon entering our atmosphere at high speeds.

Earlier in February a meteoroid, struck Earth’s atmosphere over northern France creating a stunning shooting star effect.

The 1m (3ft) meteoroid. which has been dubbed Sar2667 “lit up the sky with a pink flash which was spectacular,” an eyewitness said.

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