Moment a meteor enters Earth’s atmosphere as a blazing ball of fire is captured by research cameras

Moment a meteor enters Earth’s atmosphere as a blazing ball of fire and breaks up over the ocean near Australia is captured by research ship’s cameras

  • A research ship capture the moment a meteor came blazing into our atmosphere
  • The meteor was spotted 9:30pm UTC Wed, outside of Tasmania 
  • Researches said it shine a bright green before breaking up over the ocean

A meteor lit up the night sky over the ocean near Australia, appearing as a blazing ball of fire and then breaking up over the ocean – and the stunning scene was capture on camera.

A research ship was traveling in the waters off the coast of Tasmania at the perfect moment, allowing its liverstream cameras to take footage of the meteor as it entered Earth’s atmosphere.

The bright flash of light, which shined green to the naked eye, was spotted at 9:30pm local time Wednesday.

Reports of the sighting flooded the media, but the only cameras to capture it were those aboard the CSIRO RV Investigator.

CSIRO Voyage Manager John Hooper, who was on the ship, said it was  a stroke of luck’ after seeing the footage.

‘What we saw on reviewing the livestream footage astounded us, the size and brightness of the meteor was incredible,’ Hooper said.

‘The meteor crosses the sky directly in front of the ship and then breaks up – it was amazing to watch the footage and we were very fortunate that we captured it all on the ship livestream.’

Although the event was exciting, Glen Nagle, from CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science, highlighted that it reminds us ‘that space is far from empty.’

‘Over 100 tonnes of natural space debris enters Earth’s atmosphere every day,’ Nagle said.

‘Most of it goes unseen as it occurs over an unpopulated area like the southern ocean.

He continued to explain that meteors enter the atmosphere with tremendous speed, which ranges from 25,000mph to 160,000mph, this transforms their kinetic energy into other forms like heat, light and sound. 

In space, these objects are asteroids that are traveling along their own trajectory.

However, the path can change if they get too close to Earth due to our planet’s gravitational pull.

‘As they enter our atmosphere, they become meteors – and their entry can be visually spectacular,’ said Nagle.

At the time the vision was captured, RV Investigator was in the Tasman Sea about 62 miles (100km) south off the Tasmanian coast.

The ship and crew were conducted a seafloor mapping project of the Huon Marine Park for Parks Australia. 

This region of the ocean is steaming with wondrous creatures, majestic underwater mountains and thickets of stony corals – and it seems the area is also a prime place for skygazing.

Thursday morning, residents around the coast flooded local media with reports of the meteor.

However, no one seemed to have any images or footage of the event – expect for the research team.  

‘Cameras are everywhere, in our pockets and around our cities, but they have to be pointed in the right place at the right time – RV Investigator was in that place and time,’ Nagle said.


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