A luminous object in the evening sky attracts attention in parts of Germany. What’s behind it?
Stuttgart – According to an expert, a ball of fire seen in the evening sky by people in Baden-Württemberg, Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate was a meteoroid and not space junk.
Several meteor cameras recorded the racing projectile from the solar system, as the astronomer Hans-Ulrich Keller from the Stuttgart planetarium explained on Friday.
Twitter and Instagram users reported in Tübingen, Heidelberg, Karlsruhe and Bad Kreuznach on Thursday evening of a lightning-fast object with a glowing tail. According to Keller, it flew over all of Central Europe. Andreas Eberle from the Stuttgart observatory had also told SWR that there was a lot to suggest that it was a cosmic object.
It could not be space junk, argued Keller, because it always flies with the rotation of the earth, but the projectile moved in the opposite direction. It was probably the size of a fist to a soccer ball. A celestial object the size of a ball made entirely of iron could weigh 100 kilos.
The meteoroid was said to have been between 100 and 120 kilometers high at the time it entered the earth’s atmosphere and when it lit up. Because his kinetic energy is converted into thermal energy, air that is several thousand degrees hot accompanies him on his career. At a height of 20 to 40 kilometers above the earth it exploded, the astronomical scientist further explained. “There are such phenomena more often, but the current case is spectacular because it was a particularly bright object that was not obscured by clouds.”
Keller was reminiscent of geological catastrophes caused by projectiles from space. Around 15 million years ago, for example, a minor planet created a gigantic crater when it fell to earth, today’s Nördlinger Ries in Bavaria. 65 million years ago, a minor planet struck the Gulf of Mexico and wiped out 95 percent of all living things around the world. dpa