Blog Archive

Unusually slow meteor

The meteor camera I operate caught an unusually slow and long-lasting meteor at 00:18 on 1 August 2015. You can see what the camera saw in the video. Although the camera is noisy and grainy (it is  cheap, basic, but sensitive CCTV camera) it gives a great sense of the meteor sweeping right across the sky (actually about 60 degrees).

The meteor was also captured by several cameras in the UK Meteor Network and at least one in Nemetode, so the orbit can be calculated. It looks as if the meteoroid (the object in space before it hits the earth’s atmosphere and becomes a meteor) orbited between the orbits of Mars and the Earth. It was probably small, like a sand grain. It would have been completely burnt up in the heat of entry to earth’s atmosphere. It was travelling at about 6km per second or 21,600 kph (roughly 13,400 mph) so would have heated up very quickly as it hit the upper atmosphere.

It also looked beautiful through the clouds: a classic “shooting star”. The video is in real time. The meteor was roughly magnitude 0.7: similar to one of the bright stars but not the brightest thing in the sky and much less bright than many meteors.