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Huge fireball spotted in UAE sky, debris lands in desert

Ahmed Shaaban /Abu Dhabi
Filed on March 10, 2019 | Last updated on March 10, 2019 at 11.05 am
Huge fireball spotted in UAE sky, debris lands in desert


(Supplied photo)

Eng Mohammed Shawkat, Director of the International Astronomy Centre in Abu Dhabi.

The meteor was travelling at a speed of 67,000km/hr when it entered the Earth's atmosphere.

An extremely bright fireball was spotted in UAE skies on Tuesday (March 5) at 7:40pm, local time.

Eng Mohammed Shawkat, Director of the International Astronomy Centre in Abu Dhabi, told Khaleej Times that the appearance of the fireball has been filmed by a special network of astronomical cameras.

"These sophisticated cameras have been installed by the International Astronomy Centre at different parts of the country and are managed in collaboration with the US space agency NASA."

The network consists of several stations, each of which has 16 astronomical cameras directed towards the sky all times, he added.

"These cameras automatically record/film the appearance of any meteor that appears in the sky and send high definition clips of the same, to the station that they are connected to. These clips are instantly transferred to the main center in Abu Dhabi."

This particular super bright fireball has been filmed by two astronomical cameras- one placed at the Ramah station and the other at the Al Wajan station, Eng Shawkat said.

"The video clips retrieved from the two cameras help us in identifying and calculating its path after it must have entered the Earth's atmosphere," he stated.

"This can be done by calculating the spherical trigonometry, along with the wind direction and velocity in the upper atmosphere layers."

Based on these calculations, the meteor was found to have been orbiting at a distance of 384 million kilometers off the Sun, he announced.

"The meteor was travelling at a speed of 67,000 km/hr when it entered the Earth's atmosphere."

The object started burning at an altitude of 93kms from the Earth's surface, between the Al Qooa and Umm Al Zamul areas in UAE, he pointed out.

"It then flew towards the northwest when the fire extinguished at an altitude of 35kms close to Razeen area."

Eng Shwkat added that the meteor might not have entirely burnt itself out.

"Parts of the meteor, mostly 2 to 10 grams, have most likely reached the UAE desert, close to the Arabian Nights Village Resort."

The International Astronomy Centre in Abu Dhabi, in collaboration with the local bodies concerned, is to form a team and visit the site and look for the fallen parts of the burnt meteor, he said.

"Meteors have a great scientific value, especially if they come from the moon or other planets."

ahmedshaaban@khaleejtimes.com

 


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