A ball of fire crosses the sky of Andalusia and Castilla La Mancha

Image of the fireball captured this Friday.

It entered the atmosphere this Friday at a speed of about 234,000 kilometers per hour.

A spectacular fireball crossed the Andalusian sky last night until crashing in the form of a meteorite somewhere in the Gulf of Cádiz, near the Rota Naval Base, as confirmed on Twitter by astrophysicist José María Madiedo, from the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia ( IAA), which analyzed the event minutes after it occurred.

The phenomenon was observed by a large number of people from different points in various provinces of the Andalusian community, according to the Andalusian Emergency Services 112, which received numerous calls just after the sighting, which occurred at 8:46 p.m. In social networks you can read a large number of testimonies from people who claim to have witnessed the event and also images of their descent to Earth.

The researcher at the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA-CSIC) and astrophysicist responsible for the SMART project, José María Madiedo, has analyzed the event and explains that the phenomenon took place when a rock entered the atmosphere of our planet at a speed of about 234,000 kilometers per hour. The rock came from a comet and the sudden friction with our atmosphere at this high speed caused the surface of the rock to heat up to a temperature of several thousand degrees Celsius and become incandescent, thus generating a ball of fire that started at an altitude of about 121 kilometers above Villapalacios (province of Albacete). From there, according to Madiedo, it moved in a southwesterly direction, crossed the northeast of the province of Jaén and finally died out at an altitude of about 73 kilometers above the southeast of the province of Ciudad Real.

The rock that generated the superbolide came from an asteroid and entered the Earth's atmosphere at a speed of 53,000 km/h. Most of the witnesses were at that time in the southern part of Spain, mainly in Cádiz and Seville, from where its luminosity was more visible and more striking, although it could also be seen very clearly from Málaga, Huelva, Córdoba, Granada and Jaen. Its high luminosity, greater than that of the full moon, made it possible to observe it from almost the entire Iberian Peninsula. In fact, there are testimonials on social networks from people who saw it from Madrid and even from Portugal. In the province of Granada specifically, the vast majority of notices come from the region of Loja and the Montes Orientales. From Loja, precisely, and from Montefrío, two witnesses warned this newspaper of what they had just seen in the sky.

various explosions

The superbolide began at an altitude of 93 km above the Gulf of Cádiz, according to Madiedo, and ended at an altitude of 18 km above the Rota Naval Base. The speed of the rock and the sudden friction with the atmosphere caused it to heat up and become incandescent until it reached that luminosity greater than that of the full moon. Once over the Gulf of Cádiz, it moved north and flew over the capital of Cádiz before dying out over the Rota Base. In its trajectory it showed several explosions that caused sudden increases in its luminosity due to various sudden ruptures of the rock. The preliminary analysis of the event, José María Madiedo points out in his report, leads to the conclusion that the rock was not completely destroyed in the atmosphere and that a part would have survived until it fell to the ground in the form of a meteorite.

The fireball was recorded by the detectors that the SMART project of the IAA has different observatories on the peninsula. The images recorded by these observatories have made it possible to triangulate the trajectory of the fireball, as shown in the recreation video of the IAA phenomenon that illustrates this information. SMART detectors operate within the framework of the Fire and Meteor Network of Southwest Europe.