Cometary origin of Madrid Meteorite discovered

(ORDO NEWS) — On July 31, a fireball swept over Madrid and burned up in the atmosphere. Using footage from ground-based cameras across Europe, including the ESA-managed AllSky7 camera at Cebreros and the Southwest Europe Meteor Network (SWEMN) cameras, scientists were able to reconstruct its flight path.

The balloon entered the atmosphere at an altitude of 100 kilometers above Madrid and burned up at an altitude of 77 kilometers above the Spanish province of Guadalajara. Its size before contact with the Earth is believed to have been about 10 cm.

Scientists believe that it was a fragment of comet 169P/NEAT, responsible for the annual Alpha Capricornis meteor shower.

A meteor shower occurs when the Earth passes through a debris-strewn comet plume that forms as a comet approaches the Sun.

When these debris hit Earth’s atmosphere, they burn up as meteors, the brightest of which are known as fireballs.

The Alpha Capricornis meteor shower is believed to have originated approximately 3500-5000 years ago when half of comet 169P/NEAT broke off and crumbled to dust. The comet itself formed at the same time as our solar system, about 4.6 billion years ago.

The dust trail from this ancient comet drifts around Earth’s orbit, creating rare meteors. At its peak, it only creates about five meteors per hour, but they are usually very bright and often turn into fireballs.

As this drift continues, meteor showers are expected to become more intense. By 2220, they are predicted to be stronger than any current annual meteor shower. However, for now, you can admire the Alpha Capricornids in their current form until around August 15th.

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