Home Spanish News Mallorca fireball mystery solved, neither a ballistic missile nor a Elon Musk satellite

Mallorca fireball mystery solved, neither a ballistic missile nor a Elon Musk satellite

Mallorca fireball mystery solved, neither a ballistic missile nor a Elon Musk satellite

The object that flew over the southeast of mainland Spain and the Balearics on Friday night was a fireball, a piece of asteroid that completely disintegrated in the Earth’s atmosphere.
“It was not a piece of space debris – from rockets or satellites – and much less a ballistic missile as was first suggested,” José María Madiedo, from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC) and director of the Southwest European Meteor and Fireball Network, has confirmed.

After analysing the data, according to Madiedo, “one hundred percent” the object was a grazing fireball, so called because of the type of trajectory it follows, almost tangential, which “grazes” the atmosphere.
It started almost vertically over Perpignan, in France, and then headed towards the Balearics, flying over Girona.

In the disintegrating in the Earth’s atmosphere between Mallorca and Menorca; none of its pieces fell into the sea, said the IAA expert.
What caused this fireball was a rock, a piece of asteroid – technically known as a meteoroid – which, on entering the atmosphere, becomes incandescent due to friction.

The light resulting from this is what in astronomy is called a fireball or bolide, in this case a rocketeer.
The fireball, with the name SPMN290324ART, flew over space at 23:59 hours last Friday and was recorded and photographed by many astronomy enthusiasts.

Madiedo said that fireballs are common, although a grazing fireball is much less frequent.
This one in particular is of “little scientific relevance”, but has been given importance because of “the context”. In his opinion, at no time should there have been talk of a ballistic missile, “it did not fit in with what the data indicated”.

The Red de Investigación de Bólidos y Meteoritos del Instituto de Ciencias del Espacio, in Barcelona (the other network of this type of the CSIC), spoke at first on social networks that two hypotheses were being considered, a ballistic missile or a re-entry.

First he said they were opting for a missile and then for a re-entry of an artificial object. Late on Saturday afternoon the CSIC sent out a statement ruling out the first option, saying it was more likely to be space rocket or satellite debris, it said.

“The preliminary data obtained so far leads us to believe that the fireball was produced by the re-entry of an artificial object into Earth orbit,” such as satellites or space rocket debris, said ICE astrophysicist Josep María Trigo, who added: “Re-entries are becoming more and more frequent.”

The data has finally confirmed that this object, which was also said to be a Starlink satellite belonging to billionaire Elon Musk, is in fact a rocket.
In its X account, the ICE network points this out, in addition to the calculations of the IAA network led by Madiedo – who was also asked by the CSIC to carry out an analysis – and the Fireball and Meteor Detection Network of the University of Malaga and the Malaga Astronomy Society.


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