The cameras on Earth have captured a rare sight, an “earthgrazer”, a meteoroid that skims the Earth’s atmosphere before “bouncing” into space.
This particular meteoroid got its hair on end, flying up to 56 miles higher, far below any satellite in orbit, before bouncing back.
The space rock shot through the night sky over northern Germany and the Netherlands in the early hours of September 22.
A meteoroid is typically a fragment of a comet or asteroid that becomes a meteor (a bright light that crosses the sky) when it enters the atmosphere.
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Most of them disintegrate, perhaps with pieces reaching the ground like meteorites.
The grazers of the earth are a little luckier and do not burn, but bounce back, only skimming the edges of our planet’s protective gas shield.
Land grazers don’t happen very often, just a handful of times a year.
It was spotted by cameras from the Global Meteor Network, a project that aims to cover the globe with meteoric cameras and provide the public with real-time alerts, building an image of the meteoric environment around Earth.
“The network is basically a decentralized scientific tool, made up of amateur astronomers and citizen scientists from all over the planet, each with their own camera systems,” explains Denis Vida, who founded it.
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“We make available to the public and the scientific community all data such as the trajectories and orbits of meteoroids, with the aim of observing the rare explosions of meteoric rains and increasing the number of meteorite falls observed and helping to understand the mechanisms of delivery of meteorites to Earth “.
Tens of thousands of meteorites have been found on Earth, but of these only about 40 can be traced back to a parent asteroid or asteroid source.
By better understanding these tiny bodies we are able to build a more complete picture of the Solar System, including potentially dangerous asteroids, meteor shower explosions that could endanger satellites, as well as the chemistry and origins of our own Solar System.