It is not every day that we happen to register by chance the fall of a meteor. Yet this is what happened in the Tasman Sea where a research vessel on a mission managed to capture the images of the entry of a space object into the Earth’s atmosphere thanks to its livestream camera.
On Wednesday November 18, the RV ship Investigator was 100 km south of the Tasmanian coast to map the seabed in Huon Marine Park on behalf of Parks Australia, and to conduct oceanographic research and equipment testing. At around 10:21 GMT, a very bright, green meteor surprised the crew as it crossed the sky in front of the boat before disintegrating over the ocean.
Checking the recordings made by the ship’s 24/7 livestream camera, the expedition members were pleasantly surprised to see that the whole scene was perfectly captured.
A very rare opportunity
According to John Hooper, manager of CSIRO Voyage and who was on board the RV Investigator, it was truly an incredible stroke of luck to have been able to record the meteor fall. What they saw on the video really amazed them, especially the size and brightness of the object.
“The meteor crossed the sky right in front of the ship and then disintegrated. It was really amazing to watch the recording and we were really lucky to have been able to film it all thanks to the boat’s livestream camera, ”he said.
Where do meteors come from?
In relation to this event, Glen Nagle, a researcher at CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science, said capturing video footage like this is really exciting, but it also reminds us that space is not empty. According to him, more than 100 tons of natural space debris enters the Earth’s atmosphere every day. Most of these falls will go unnoticed since it will be over uninhabited areas like the ocean.
Nagle explains that when a meteor enters the atmosphere with high speed, friction with the atmosphere will cause it to burn and its kinetic energy will be transformed into other forms of energy like heat, light, and sound. . A lot of meteors were previously asteroids following their own trajectory, but they ended up being influenced by the force of gravity of the Earth as they approached our planet closely.
With her camera constantly working, this might not be the last time the RV ship Investigator will be able to capture such amazing natural phenomena.
The video is available on the CSIRO Dropbox.