A spectacular fireball (meteor) exploded over northern Balkans today at 10:34 local time (09:34 UTC), Feb 28th. The event was seen and heard from northern Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, and Austria. There are numerous reports of a loud sonic boom with the accompanying shockwave, strong enough to be registered by the seismographs as an earthquake! It is possible some pieces of the object survived the atmospheric entry.
Here is a video of the event as seen over Zagreb, Croatia by Tomislav Čar. A slow-motion sequence of the most interesting part is also included.
Observers who saw the explosion were reporting that it looked like a fireball at night, only it was daytime with a bright flash of light, followed by a loud explosion. For a while, there was a larger yellowish mass in the cloud (probably the meteor was still burning), with then only the smoke cloud remaining. Some of the observers also reported shaking windows during the accompanying shockwave.
Although some residents initially thought it was an airplane breaking the sound barrier (sonic boom) or an earthquake, the Croatian Astronomical Union (CAU) confirmed it was a bolide (fireball meteor) – an extremely bright meteor.
The sonic boom was registered in capital Zagreb at 09:34 UTC, three minutes after the visual spectacle. The sound lasted for several seconds and was heard across northern Croatia.
According to the CAU, the meteor exploded at a height of about 30 km (18.6 miles) above the ground. It is quite possible that some pieces survived atmospheric entry, but it’s still unclear where they might have landed. There are some unofficial reports, a piece of the object was found in the city of Koprivnica, northeast Croatia.
Seismographs of Slovenian meteorological agency (ARSO) and Seismological survey by the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Science, Geophysical department clearly registered the shock waves! It was probably a breakthrough of the sonic boom caused by the meteor explosion. See the charts below:
Državna mreža potresnih opazovalnic je ob 10.32 zabeležila padec meteorita. Slika prikazuje zapis dogodka na potresni opazovalnici Črešnjevec. pic.twitter.com/X5QWkTu06H
— ARSO potresi (@ARSO_potresi) February 28, 2020
— Seizmološka služba HR (@seizmo_hr) February 28, 2020
Video of the event:
Video of the bright daylight bolide (imaged from the Italian town of FANO in the Marche region) spotted at around 10:30am of February 28, 2020 over north-east of Italy, Croatia and Slovenia #astronomy #meteor #meteorahttps://t.co/ifU0LAF0Xt
— Ernesto Guido (@comets77) February 28, 2020
Some photo reports of the smoke after its explosion:
— Urbancube (@Urbancube1) February 28, 2020
We are still collecting reports, so stay tuned for updates soon!
See also – a bomb cyclone is nearing Ireland and UK tonight and tomorrow: