Slow-moving meteor from large asteroid 2004 HW puts on spectacular display over Andalucía, Spain

Slow-moving meteor from large asteroid 2004 HW puts on spectacular display over Andalucía, Spain

A slow-moving fireball lit up the night sky over Andalucí​a, Spain, at 21:33 UTC (23:33 LT) on Monday, June 14, 2021. The spectacular event was mostly witnessed in the provinces of Sevilla, Malaga, and Cadiz. According to an analysis, the meteor entered the atmosphere at about 50 000 km/h (31 000 mph) and originated from a large, Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA) designated 2004 HW.

According to the footage, the fireball moved across the night sky for around 20 seconds before diminishing.

José María Madiedo, the principal investigator of the project and the one who analyzed the event, said the fireball began appearing at an altitude of roughly 83 000 km (51 600 miles) over the town of Alcorrin in Malaga.

From there, it advanced in a northeasterly direction, exploding as it followed its trajectory.

The meteor faded at an altitude of about 38 000 km (23 600 miles) on the eastern part of Seville, near the town of Casariche.

At that point, the rock was entirely burned in the atmosphere and no fragment had reached the ground. 

The event was also captured by astronomical observatories in Seville, La Sagra, Sierra Nevada, Calar Alto, and La Hita.

The object originated from asteroid 2004 HW, a member of the Apollo group of asteroids. The group crosses the path of the Earth as it orbits the Sun. 

Madiedo pointed out that although this type of asteroid is potentially dangerous, there is no need to be alarmed. "What has hit the atmosphere has been a rock detached from that asteroid, not the asteroid itself, fortunately."

"There is no risk that the asteroid from which this fireball has detached will hit Earth for at least the next 100 years."

Asteroid 2004 HW was discovered by Siding Spring Survey on April 18, 2004.

Its estimated diameter is between 1 and 2.3 km (0.62 - 1.42 miles).

Ephemeris | Orbit Diagram | Orbital Elements | Physical Parameters | Discovery Circumstances | Close-Approach Data ]

References:

2004 HW at Minor Planet Center; at CNEOS

Featured image credit: IAA-CSIC

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