A meteor lit up the night in Brittany, Normandy and the Pays de la Loire

Weight: 2.6kg. Speed: 45,000 km/h. Observed trajectory: “From the Orne to the south of Mayenne”, notes Eric Lagadec, astronomer at the Côte d’Azur Observatory and president of the French Society for Astronomy and Astrophysics. Coming from an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, this small pebble from space was observed by around fifty witnesses on Saturday April 16, 2022 at 22:37, as reported by the Fripon network at its Vigie ciel site from Nantes to Finistere indicated ,

The bolide flashes when it enters the atmosphere

The “Bolide” – name for a very bright meteor – was also observed by the cameras of this network, which is tasked with detecting celestial bodies passing overhead. So we are observing traces of its lightning passage – a few seconds at most – over Le Mans, Nantes, Angers, Rennes and even the UK.

The luminous trail of the celestial fireball observed by the Fripon network camera at Angers at 22:37. | FRIPON NETWORK

But how is it that a pebble no bigger than a grapefruit, moving 70 km up, shines so brightly? “Due to its speed, the meteoroid ignites upon entering the atmosphere, explains Eric Lagadec. In contact with the air, it breaks down and generates a lot of energy. It’s the flash we saw. » In fact, the meteor was completely consumed in the sky. It is therefore not a meteorite, but a pebble from space that was found on earth.

Two meteoroids for the price of one

Surprise this Easter eve, it’s not one but two fireballs observed in the French sky: “Another was seen around 12:30 p.m. in broad daylight in south-eastern France.reveals the astronomer. It is rare that there are two on the same day. I don’t remember this ever happening. »

Passing in the middle of the day, this diurnal meteoroid went unnoticed. Hence the Fripon network’s appeal to citizens who see the car drive by to come and testify on their website. The goal ? “To recreate and better understand the trajectory of the meteorite,” recalls Eric Lagadec. When it comes to rocking in space, everyone can play their part.

A meteor lit up the night in Brittany, Normandy and the Pays de la Loire

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