Tremendous fireball over the Netherlands

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Oct. 16 2009 10:00 AM

Tremendous fireball over the Netherlands

A couple of days ago, the Netherlands and Germany were treated to a spectacular fireball, a very bright meteor burning up over their skies. Photographer Robert Mikaelyan was at the right place at the right time and got tremendous photos of the bolide:

netherlands_meteor

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Wow! Click through to see the series; you can see the meteoroid breaking up as it slams through our air. Robert took beautiful shots, especially given that he couldn't have had more than a few seconds to get them; things like this appear very suddenly and are gone in less than a minute at best. The event took place around 19:00 local time and was probably witnessed by thousands of people. I'm totally jealous.

Also in the meteor news category, apparently scientists have verified that a piece of metal that fell through a UK man's roof in July is in fact space debris of some kind -- meaning from a man-made object, not a natural meteorite. The Daily Mail (I know, barf) has the story and a picture of the object. Interestingly, the man claims the object was too hot to touch when it hit his house. In general, meteorites from deep space are not hot, but this is a bit different; it would have fallen from a decaying orbit, meaning a slower speed and a shallower angle as it came in at the top of the atmosphere. I'm not exactly sure why that would mean it would stay hot, but I'll note it wasn't hot enough to start a fire. I'll have to look into this further.

Tip o' the Whipple Shield to IVAN3MAN. Image from Robert Mikaelyan used with permission.

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!