Thu. Dec 3rd, 2020

Dazzling blue fireball streaks across the night sky in Australia

2 min read

Stargazers in Western Australia have been flummoxed by a weird blue fireball that blazed across the sky earlier this week.

The object was caught on camera in the remote Pilbara region of Western Australia.

As you can see in the footage below, the fireball moves steadily across the sky – much slower than a traditional shooting star which is gone in the blink of an eye.

It starts out orange but then turns a dazzling blue.

And scientists aren’t sure what to make of it.

‘It was really a spectacular observation,’ he told ABC Pilbara News.

Many space rocks contain iron and the Earth is hit by huge volumes of them each day. However, the fireball in this case appears to be almost gliding across the sky – prompting speculation it could be man-made.

But Renae Sayers, a research ambassador at Curtin University’s Space Science and Technology Centre, explained why that’s unlikely.

When rogue space junk comes crashing down ‘what we tend to see is sort of like crackles and sparks.’

‘This is due to the fact that there is stuff burning up — so you’ve got solar panels going all over the place, you’ve got hunks of metal moving around,’ Sayers said.

According to Nasa, there’s actually a stipulation for an object being called a ‘fireball’.

‘When meteoroids enter Earth’s atmosphere, or that of another planet, like Mars, at high speed and burn up, they’re called meteors. This is also when we refer to them as “shooting stars.”,’ explains the space agency.

‘Sometimes meteors can even appear brighter than Venus — that’s when we call them “fireballs.” Scientists estimate that about 48.5 tons (44,000 kilograms) of meteoritic material falls on Earth each day.’

This isn’t the first time a spectacular fireball has been seen in Australia – a similar one blazed through the sky in 2017. However, rather than burning up or striking the ground it veered back into space.

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