A series of night-time photos were taken by ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli on 5 November around 22:33 GMT, here shown in a time-lapse with a 1-second interval, while the Space Station was flying from the southern Atlantic Ocean over to Kazakhstan.
Paolo was lucky enough to capture a fast fireball falling to Earth over the Atlantic Ocean, off the South Africa west coast — look closely between 00:07 and 00:08 seconds at upper right in this video.
A fireball is basically a very bright meteoroid — a small bit of natural “space rock” — entering Earth’s atmosphere and burning brighter than the background stars. This particular meteoroid was moving much faster than typical, with an estimated speed of around 40 km/s, according to experts working on near-Earth objects (NEOs) in ESA’s Space Situational Awareness Programme.
“This speed is actually quite fast for meteoroids, which typically enter the atmosphere at around 20 km/s,” says Rüdiger Jehn, SSA NEO segment co-manager.
ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli in currently working and living on board the International Space Station as part of the Italian Space Agency’s long-duration VITA mission.
Time-lapse of Earth from the Space Station, from Africa to Russia
All the beauty of Italy from the Space Station
Test your geography skills in this timelapse over Europe!
VITA mission: the first month
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