Watch A Green Asteroid Explode Into A Fireball In A Spectacular Night Sky Show
The bright light from a meteor streaking across the night sky caught the attention of onlookers across north Queensland, before crashing into the ground creating a thundering boom. The spectacle was caught by various cameras throughout the area and shared on social media.
People from Cairns on the east coast of Australia to Normanton on the Gulf of Carpentaria began sharing the footage of the glowing green fireball shortly after impact earlier this week. Some in the town of Croydon, 500km west of Cairns, even said they felt the explosion and heard the aftermath of the event.
In an interview with Guardian Australia, Dr. Brad Tucker, an astrophysicist at Australian National University, said the meteor was most likely between 0.5 and 1 meter in size and traveling at a speed up to 150,000km/h. He also stated that due to the size of the meteor, it more than likely did not leave a crater.
"It essentially did a belly flop," explained Dr. Tucker. He added, "The friction builds up and causes that glow and then it hits breaking point, which causes the huge flash and the sonic boom."
There is little doubt that meteorite hunters have already been scouring the area looking for bits and fragments of the space rock. If you happen to be one of them, remember not to use a magnet to verify your find. This is because a recent study found using a small magnet on a piece of a meteorite will essentially erase its magnetic record, making it impossible for scientists to recover valuable information concerning its original magnetic field.
Dr. Tucker says meteors crash through the Earth's atmosphere like this every month or so, but most are in uninhabited areas. "This one happened at a convenient time in a relatively populated area - 9pm on a Saturday night means lots of people are going to see it," Tucker remarked.