Mysterious fireball spotted over Germany; here's what we know so far

About 90 sightings were notified to the fireball network within a span of some hours, according to Berlin's Technical University.

Photo Credit: Rheinische Post online Photo Credit: Rheinische Post online

Western Germany on Saturday witnessed a mysterious fireball darting through its night sky, as per the statement of some astronomers.  

The bright streak caused by the fireball lasted about 5 to 7 seconds, ending in a jade (forest green) colour and diverging into two smaller blips, a witness at Siegen near Bonn had conveyed to the "fireball network." The said network is run by Berlin's Technical University (TU) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

"Most probably it was an asteroid fragment that had entered the atmosphere," said DLR fireball expert Dieter Heinlein on Sunday, linking the position of the spectacle the evening before to be over Kassel city in central Germany.

Multiple sightings

About 90 sightings were notified to the fireball network within a span of some hours, Professor Jurgen Oberst, head of planetary geodesy at TU said on Sunday.

"A very bright fireball from Dusseldorf-Ludenberg in the (easterly) direction toward Mettmann. Broke into many parts. Local time 18:40," an observer told Rheinische Post, a major German dail.

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Another witness belonging to the Schleswig-Holstein state in northern Germany told the Gahberg observatory in Austria that there was a  "sighting of a bright object with a green tail flying from west to east," with the tail being described as 3 to 4 times the size of the object.

Fireballs and Europe

Fireballs is technically another term for a bright meteor and is classed as being visible for more than 5 seconds. They occur on average 30 times a year over the skies of Europe and are apparently brighter and longer than the average "shooting star" glimpses. According to the DLR website, such sightings peak in November and December.

Another bright fireball incident reported by numerous witnesses from eastern parts of Germany, as well as from Poland back in October 2015 was captured by many all-sky cameras located in Berlin. According to DLR, asteroids are small residuals from our solar system's phase of planetary formation; they mostly orbit between Mars and Jupiter. The collisions in this 'asteroid-belt' produce fragments, also known as meteorites, which then streak towards the Earth.