A fireball less than one metre in diameter was seen above Ontario, Canada, on November 19, and is the sixth object to be detected in space before impact with Earth, the European Space Agency (ESA) has said. The global asteroid warning systems saw the fireball before it struck Earth, and altered planetary defence experts. The fireball soaring in the skies was a beautiful sight to behold, as evident from a video shared by ESA.
Professional and amateur astronomers started discussing in the early hours of Saturday (local time) that a meteor was on its way. They also said that observers should set up their telescopes and cameras to view the spectacle.
~1-m space object – temporary designation #C8FF042 – strikes Earth over Canada, creating stunning #fireball☄️For only the 6th time in history, this impact was predicted.Find out more about predicting #asteroid impacts from the last time this happened 👉https://t.co/zwPKXeUEUl https://t.co/XbDqtiDuom pic.twitter.com/5yHGWibSki
— ESA Operations (@esaoperations) November 19, 2022
When and where was the meteor spotted?
The meteor entered Earth’s atmosphere at approximately 3:27 am EST (1:57 pm IST) on Saturday, over Brantford, Ontario, the Minor Planet Center, which tracks objects in the solar system, said, according to a New York Times (NYT) report.
The Minor Planet Center said that the fast-moving object, which has the temporary designation of #C8FF042, was detected in pictures taken at Mount Lemmon Survey near Tucson, Arizona.
According to the NYT report, Mike Hankey, the operations manager for the American Meteor Society, said he got a call about the meteor around 4 am EST from someone in Germany. Hankey, who was in Maine at that time, said messages about the meteor had started circulating about three hours earlier.
Quoting Hankey, the report said when these things happen, the astronomy community wants to know where the impact took place, and if meteorites survive, they want to recover them as soon as possible.
What is a fireball?
A fireball is a very bright meteor, generally brighter than Venus in the morning or evening sky, according to the American Meteor Society. As of Saturday afternoon, the American Meteor Society had received 33 reports of a fireball from people in Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennu and Ontario, the report said.
Using reports on social media by people living in and near Hamilton, Ontario, and radar readings, astronomers determined where the meteorites were likely to have hit Earth.
Hankey said there is a chance if there are meteorites that survived that they might be recoverable near Grimsby, Ontario or St. Catherines, Ontario, near the Niagara Falls area.