Thursday, June 30

A meteorite disintegrates near a village of Ciudad Real in Sierra Morena


Toledo

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A film is on everyone’s lips lately due to the great impact it is having. ‘Don’t look up‘ (‘Don’t look up’ in Spain), which is how it is titled, is an American science fiction and satire film written, produced and directed by Adam McKay in late 2021. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio y Jennifer Lawrence, and tells how two astronomers try to warn humanity, without luck, about a comet that is approaching the Earth and that will destroy human civilization.

Saving the distances and with a happy ending, not like in the movie, this Friday night the professionals of the Astronomical Complex of La Hita (Toledo) They detected a piece of rock in the shape of a fireball. The light phenomenon crossed the south of the Iberian Peninsula at high speed until it disintegrated as a meteorite near a village in Ciudad Real in Sierra Morena.

The detectors that Fireball and Meteor Network of Southwest Europe (Red SWEMN) operates in this astronomical observatory, they recorded it in the early hours of January 14, at 10:27 p.m. local time: an impressive fireball crossing the night sky, which reached a luminosity similar to that of the full moon, according to reported in a press release.

It was also recorded by the detectors that this same research project has installed in the observatories of Calar Alto (Almería), Sierra Nevada, Seville, Huelva, Madrid (Complutense University), El Aljarafe (Seville) and La Sagra (Granada).

The fireball has been analyzed by the researcher responsible for the SMART Project, the astrophysicist José María Madiedo, of the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA-CSIC). According to the results of this analysis, the phenomenon occurred when a rock from an asteroid entered the Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of about 48,000 kilometers per hour.

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Sources from the La Hita Astronomical Complex explain that these rocks that intersect with the Earth’s orbit are called ‘meteoroids’. The sudden friction of the rock with the atmosphere at this enormous speed caused the rock to become incandescent, thus generating a fireball that began at an altitude of about 86 kilometers above the village of Ventillas, southwest of the province of Ciudad Real. From there it advanced in an easterly direction and became extinct at an altitude of about 23 kilometers above Sierra Morena, almost above the vertical of the Ciudad Real village of Las Tiñosas.

The great luminosity that this fireball reached meant that it could be seen from more than 500 kilometers away. In total, the fireball traveled about 63 kilometers in the atmosphere.

Another important result of this preliminary analysis is that the rock was not completely destroyed in the atmosphere, since a small part of it would have survived, falling to the ground in Sierra Morena in the form of a meteorite

Due to its high brightness, this light phenomenon could be seen by numerous people from much of Spain, most of them from the central and southern areas of the country. In fact, numerous witnesses echoed this on social networks, as in ‘Don’t look up’. Let’s hope that, for now, reality does not exceed fiction.

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