Very bright fireball illuminates sky over Japan's Kanto region

Very bright fireball illuminates sky over Japan's Kanto region

A very bright fireball was recorded streaking through the night sky over Japan's Kanto region at 14:32 UTC (22:30 LT) on August 21, 2020. This is the second notable meteor event in Japan since July 1.

One of the many eyewitnesses described it as a completely red ball of fire coming down.

The event was recorded by Daiji Fujii, a curator at the Hiratsuka City Museum in Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo with a camera set up at his home in Hiratsuka.

"It was about as bright as the full moon at its most luminescent. Its light was continuous, and it descended over a space of about 10 seconds, so there's no doubt it was a meteor," Fujii said.

The part of it which didn't burn up in the atmosphere looked to have fallen in the Pacific Ocean off of Izu Oshima, a Tokyo island off of the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture, Fujii said, adding that it's also possible that it fell on the opposite side of Tokyo Bay, in the vicinity of the Boso Peninsula in Chiba Prefecture.

This is the second notable meteor event over Japan since July 1, 2020, when many people across the capital reported seeing a bright fireball, followed by a sonic boom. The event took place at 17:32 UTC on July 1, 2020 (02:32 JST, July 2). 

Daichi Fujii captured this one too, moving from west to east. 

The National Astronomical Observatory said it is rare for witnesses to hear anything after a fireball event.

"One station of the International Monitoring System of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation was almost 1 150 km (715 miles) away from the event but in its waveforms a signature of the fireball could be identified," International Meteor Organization's Theresa Ott and Esther Drolshagen noted.

"We were able to calculate source energy of the entering asteroid of about 150 t TNT. With an assumed velocity of 14 km/s and a density of 3000 kg/m3 the size would be around 1.6 m (5.2 feet), with a mass of about 1.6 t."

Featured image credit: Daiji Fujii

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