On June 15, a mysterious phenomenon was observed in Australia. At about 1 a.m. in the sky over the Pilbara region, which is located in the northwestern part of the country in the state of Western Australia, a “fireball” appeared, glowing green. It flew for so long that eyewitnesses managed to shoot it on the cameras of their smartphones. In this case, the object did not explode, but simply flew over the horizon.
His flight was seen in the neighboring Northern Territory, as well as in the state of South Australia and, surprisingly, in the states of Victoria and New South Wales – on the other end of the continent.
The videos with the “fireball” instantly went to social networks and gathered a huge number of views and comments. At first, the version about the asteroid (163348) 2002 NN4, the diameter of which can reach 570 meters, was popular. It was reported by many media. But the hypothesis was flawed: this celestial body safely flew past the Earth on June 6, approaching our planet by 5.2 million km, which is 13.5 distances from Earth to the Moon.
In social networks, as usual in such cases, some users promoted a version about aliens. One of the most popular was the assumption that this is space debris. But scientists, who were also puzzled by what happened, believe that the green glow of the “fireball” indicates its natural origin, and that the celestial body contained a large amount of iron, reports Stormnews with reference to the Australian broadcasting corporation ABC.
According to astronomer Renee Sayers of the University of Curtin, most likely it was a meteoroid or an asteroid. Space debris, falling into the Earth’s atmosphere, burns out differently – it breaks up into smaller fragments. In the same case, fragmentation was practically not observed. In an interview with 9NEWS, Sayers said she probably flew an asteroid the size of a washing machine or chair.
Last month, Australians also discussed a strange luminous object flying in the sky in the southeast of the country. On May 22, he was observed in the states of Victoria and Tasmania. But in this case, scientists have no doubt that this is space debris. And, most likely, it was part of the Russian launch vehicle. On that day, from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk region, they successfully launched the Soyuz-2.1b launch vehicle with a spacecraft in the interests of the Russian Ministry of Defense.