A 'Minimoon' has just exploded in Australia - BGR

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Balls of fire regularly appear in the night sky on Earth. Depending on the size of the object creating them, they can range from a short trail of light to huge explosions that send shockwaves for miles in all directions. Smaller ones are more common, of course, but the massive fireball that appeared over Australia in 2016 was perhaps even more special than astronomers first realized.

Comme ScienceAlert reports, reveals the fireball sighting in 2016. it must be wider, producing a brilliant trail across the sky when the intense friction of entering Earth's atmosphere tore it apart. It is now believed that the object may be a rare example of a "minimoon".

Most of the time, a meteor crossing the sky was just in the wrong place at the wrong time in its orbit around the Sun. . Pieces of space rock end up colliding with Earth, and when too close together they die in a blazing fire. Every once in a while, one of these objects approaches Earth at the appropriate angle and speed to orbit our planet, circling the Earth like a tiny neighbor.

In a new article published in The Astrophysical Journal. the researchers collated all of the 2016 Australian fireball sightings using the Desert Fireball Network by calculating the angle of impact on the Earth's atmosphere, its speed and other factors. The fact that the object was moving very slowly and the angle at which it landed on Earth strongly suggests that it was orbiting our planet for some time before its brilliant light show.

Looking ahead, scientists say new ground-based telescope technologies may offer us the ability to detect and observe similar kitties for months, if not years, before they reach their destructive ends.

Image source: NASA / ESA

This article appeared first (in English) on BGR

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