A "fireball" was spotted in the sky over Nottinghamshire: what experts think

By TravelWiseFeb 28, 2024 16:55 PMNews
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A "fireball" was spotted in the sky over Nottinghamshire: what experts think
The suspected meteorite ball is circled in red here in the dashcam image. Source: Supplied, nottinghampost.com

An unidentified phenomenon in the sky over Nottingham was captured by a dashcam on the A453 highway. The video shows a brief flash and flickering of white light over the countryside at approximately 17:47 on February 19.

The British Meteor Network received 86 reports of the fireball in eastern England and western Netherlands, Belgium, and France simultaneously. The video, broadcast by Nottinghamshire Live, shows the object appearing on the right side of the screen and descending for less than four seconds before disappearing, according to nottinghampost.com.

Now, two experts from the University of Nottingham have provided their analysis. Astronomy professor Megan Gray stated that the footage "does look like a meteorite."

She explained, "I see a nice bright streak followed by a flash at the end. It's very likely a small rocky object that heats up as it passes quickly through the upper atmosphere. Most objects that form meteors are fragments of comets, asteroids, or space dust that the Earth encounters as it travels around the Sun."

Gray added, "Events like this happen all the time, and most of the 'shooting stars' we can all see if we go out on a dark, clear night and look long enough are the result of something about the size of a grain of sand. This object was probably a bit larger, which is why it left such a nice bright trail. The flash at the end could be the result of the object breaking apart. It is very unlikely that it posed a danger to anyone on the ground."

Dr. Julian Onions, an astrophysicist and computer programmer at the university, mentioned that such fireballs are "somewhat rare." He concurred with Prof. Gray, stating that fireballs occur only when a sufficiently large chunk of rock enters the atmosphere.

Onions said, "Because these pieces of rock are larger, they create a brighter image and last longer. Most meteorites are grain-of-sand type objects, but these fireballs are probably more like pebbles or larger in size. They are also sought after because there is a good chance they will not burn completely but fall to the ground, and people will be able to find them. In this case, it is unlikely, unless it landed on a ship! With so many reports, it may be possible to find out where the piece of rock came from and perhaps trace its origin to the remnants of a comet or an object from the asteroid belt."

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