An airport camera perfectly captured a meteor exploding on Saturday ngiht, with the brilliant light illuminating the night sky for miles around.
Cairns airport camera in Australia witnessed the meteor flash green with experts stating that it was a space rock falling to Earth.
The camera at Cairns airport got a great view of the meteor, but residents in the surrounding area captured it on smartphones, dashcams, and security cameras.
Social media videos have captured the shocking moment a meteor crashed into northern Queensland, describing the impact as a "huge explosion".
Residents in parts of Townsville, Cairns, Mt Isa, Mareeba, Normanton, and Mackay reported the skies turned green as the meteor crashed… pic.twitter.com/val62u2w32
— 10 News First Queensland (@10NewsFirstQLD) May 21, 2023
Sharelle Bee captured a crowd of people gathered outside in Normanton witnessing the fireball, audible gasps and cheers of excitement can be heard. Normanton is over 400 miles from Cairns airport.
The Guardian reports that the sound of the explosion could be heard most clearly above the town of Croydon, which is around 60 miles east of Normanton, suggesting that the meteor exploded somewhere overhead.
An astrophysicist tells the publication that rock was likely to have been less than a meter in size, a size smaller than average for a meteor, and was likely traveling at over 93,000 miles per hour.
Dr. Brad Tucker from the Australian National University explains that the reason for the meteorite’s greenish color was likely caused by the overheating of iron and nickel fragments as the rock broke apart.
“It essentially does a belly flop. The friction builds up and causes that glow and then it hits breaking point, which causes the huge flash and the sonic boom,” Dr. Tucker says.
The rock would not have left any type of crater on the Earth’s surface, but Dr. Tucker says the sonic boom is the most worrisome part of the meteor.
“It’s a mid-air detonation, so if it’s over a populated area, that can cause the damage,” Dr. Tucker says. “This one is on the small side, but we worry about the 10-meter, 20-meter sized meteors.”
Meteors like this appear once a month or so according to Dr. Tucker but most of the time it happens in an uninhabited area and goes unnoticed.
“This one happened at a convenient time in a relatively populated area – 21:00 on a Saturday night means lots of people are going to see it.”
Image credits: Courtesy of Cairns Airport .