Meteorite fall recorded over Granada, Spain

On October 3, 2021, at 21:41 local time, an impressive fireball was observed by many eyewitnesses over southern Spain. The meteorite slammed into the atmosphere at about 54,000 km/h. The fireball flew over the province of Granada, Andalusia.

It began over the east of that province at an altitude of about 81 km, moved northwest, and ended at an altitude of about 34 km over the north of the same province. This bright meteor was recorded by the Southwest European Meteor Network (SWEMN) SMART project from various meteorological observation stations located in Spain.

This event was analyzed by the principal investigator of the SMART project: Dr. Jose M. Madiedo of the Andalusian Institute of Astrophysics (IAA-CSIC). On October 3 at 21:41 (local peninsular time), this spectacular fireball could be seen by crowds of people crossing the south-central sky.

This fireball was formed when a rock (meteoroid) from comet D / 1978 R1 (Haneda-Campos) entered the Earth’s atmosphere at high speed. The fireball was registered by detectors working within the Southwest European Fireball and Meteor Network (SWEMN) at the La Sagra (Granada), La Hita (Toledo), Seville and Sierra Nevada (Granada) observatories. From the latter observatory, the bolide was recorded between clouds with a brightness similar to that of the full moon.

These detectors work within the SMART project, which is coordinated by the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA-CSIC) to continuously monitor the sky to record and study the collision with the Earth’s atmosphere of rocks from various objects in the solar system.

This phenomenon was analyzed by the researcher in charge of the SMART project, astrophysicist José María Madiedo of the Andalusian Institute of Astrophysics (IAA-CSIC). This analysis established that the rock, from which this fireball emerged, entered the atmosphere at a speed of about 54,000 kilometers per hour over the eastern province of Granada, near the vertical of the city of Alcudia de Guadix.

Because of this high speed, the sudden friction with the air caused the stone to glow when it was at an altitude of about 81 kilometers. The fireball then moved in a northwesterly direction, displaying several explosions along its path. It finally extinguished when it was at an altitude of about 34 km, not far from the vertical of the Granada city of Alisun de Ortega.

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