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Revealed the cometary origin of a fireball that crossed Madrid

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The meteor showers they are produced when the Earth crosses the trajectory of a comet, which, on approaching the Sun and ‘sublimating’ the ice from solid to gas, launches a stream of material that stays in place. When these objects collide with the Earth’s atmosphere, they burn up in the form of bright meteorsthe brightest of which are known as fireballs.

Such rains, like the current one in the perseidsare periodic reminders that the Earth is traversing an environment littered with ancient remnants of the Solar system primitive. Although not dangerous, these impressive light shows offer a warning, as these small fragments deny the larger objects they came from, which have passed close to Earth’s orbit and could do so again.

Now, one of these fireballs sighted over the skies of Madrid and other regions from the center of the Iberian Peninsula on july 31 of this year it has been verified that it came from the comet 169P/NEATresponsible for the annual meteor shower Alpha-Capricornids.

Thanks to the images of the cameras installed throughout Europeincluding one from the AllSky7 network operated by the European Space Agency (ESA) in the town of Cebreros in Ávila and others from the Southwest Europe Meteor Network (SWEMN), we calculated the trajectory of this object and traced its origin in time.

Upon entering the atmosphere at a height of 100 kilometers above Madrid and burning at 77 kilometers above the province of Guadalajara, it is believed that the frozen body was about the size 10cm before coming into contact with Earth.

Astronomers think that the meteor shower Alpha Capriconids It was created between 3,500 and 5,000 years ago, when half of Comet 169P/NEAT disintegrated and turned to dust. Regarding its formation, it is considered that it took place at the same time as our solar system, about 4.6 billion years ago.

Entering the atmosphere at a height of 100 km over Madrid and burning at 77 km over Guadalajara, it is believed that this icy body was about 10 cm before coming into contact with Earth.

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The dusty trail of this ancient comet has drifted into Earth’s orbit creating rare but quite bright meteors. At its peak, it only spawns about five meteors per hourbut these are usually very luminous and often turn into balls of fire.

As this activity continues, it is expected to become more powerful. For him year 2220, this shower should be more intense than any other annual meteor shower today. However, for now, until approximately August 15, it can be captured in its current form.

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