The European Space Agency (ESA) has published a snapshot of a small asteroid that entered the atmosphere of our planet on January 21, 2020 and burned up, just short of reaching the surface.
A short release with a snapshot is posted on the official ESA website. It follows from it that on January 21, a foreign body collapsed onto the Earth, and the sky was lit up with a very bright, albeit fleeting flash of light.
This ball of fire was brighter than Venus in the night sky. Astronomers explained that these meteors occur when small asteroids enter the atmosphere and completely or almost completely burn up due to high friction. Sometimes their flight ends in a sudden explosion.
In this case, photographer Chris Small managed to capture a bright celestial event in a seaside resort town in the north-east of Cornwall, England. The picture was taken at 23 hours 24 minutes local time.
“I saw a lot of meteors because I have been photographing the night sky for a long time, but I have never seen anything like this, - says Chris Small. - It was incredible, for a few seconds the entire coast was lit almost as brightly as during the day. green and blue colors."
This colorful effect was caused by the properties of the earth's atmosphere. Charged particles coming from the Sun collide with atoms in the upper atmosphere and excite them. In a similar way, auroras appear on our planet.
Experts analyzed Small's image and came to the conclusion that in its original state the space "alien" could measure from several tens of centimeters to one meter. By the way, the meteor was observed by at least four more people who reported this phenomenon to specialists.
The ESA notes that about 54 tons of extraterrestrial material falls to Earth every day, including interplanetary dust, meteorites and asteroids. Balls of fire like this one hit the Earth hundreds of times a year. However, not all of them fall into the camera lens or shine as brightly.