A remarkable spectacle took place across the European sky as three meteors became shining fireballs as they traveled through the night sky. They were observed in the atmosphere above Belgium and Germany and were separated by short intervals, as per CNET.
Two of them traversed the skies over Belgium in less than one hour, an event which was recorded with the help of French Fireball Recovery and InterPlanetary Observation Network ( also known as FRIPON), with an all-sky camera being present in Brussels.
CAMS, a meteor detector operated by NASA, has also detected the activity, including the third fireball, which soared over southern Germany. Worried witnesses called to report the even while images and short videos were also shared on social media.
Some researchers have inferred that the three individual fragments which appeared in such a short succession may have come from the same body, which was shattered or heavily damaged in the aftermath of a dire collision.
Three fireballs light the night sky in quick succession
Most of the rock fragments which manage to reach our atmosphere will catch fire due to the impressive friction forces that appear after the entrance. With a few notable exceptions, they will tend to burnout in the atmosphere, without any consequences for local populations or the risk of a crash.
However, this is not always the case as some meteors manage to withstand the friction and remain whole, crashing into the surface. Others will explode in mid-air, causing damage if the event happens above a populated area, with a notable example being the Chelyabinsk meteor.
That one exploded over a Russian city, damaging the windows of more than 7,000 building s and causing panic that led to approximately 1,6000 injuries.
Both NASA and other space agencies are hard at work on the development of a planetary defense system that could prevent potential impacts between Earth and other objects, including massive asteroids that could destroy entire cities.