Great balls of fire, it’s a meteorite!
22 January 2004
AMSTERDAM — A large number of star gazers claim to have seen a large fireball shoot through cloud cover on Wednesday night in what experts believe was a meteorite falling to earth.
The Dutch Meteor Society (DMS) said the fireball probably took place somewhere above the Belgian-German border in Wallonia. It was seen in Limburg, eastern Belgium and Germany, Dutch news agency ANP reported.
The Leiden-based DMS also said the fireball was most probably due to a meteorite and ruled out the possibility that it was a broken fragment of a satellite or a rocket. A society spokesman based the claim on information supplied by US aerospace agency Nasa.
But a lack of hard and fast facts regarding the fireball means it is difficult to determine if fragments fell to earth. It is assumed that the meteorite burned up in the earth’s atmosphere before hitting the ground.
Dozens of sightings were lodged with star watch association Exploirion, based in the southern Dutch city of Heerlen, Besides sightings in Limburg, Belgium, Germany and even residents of the northern Dutch city of Groningen said they saw the spectacle.
Meteorites usually burn up in the earth’s atmosphere and Wednesday night’s fireball was created about 60 to 100km above the earth’s surface. German news agency DPA said the rock probably did not hit the earth’s surface.
A researcher with the European Space Agency (ESA) in Darmstadt, Germany, said the meteorite would have been about 10cm to 50cm in size.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news