The moment a meteor penetrates the earth's atmosphere as a blazing ball of fire and breaks over the ocean near Australia, it is captured by the cameras of the research vessel
- A research ship captures the moment a meteor blazed into our atmosphere
- The meteor was sighted outside of Tasmania at 9:30 p.m. UTC Wed
- Research has shown that it glows bright green before it dissolves over the ocean
A meteor lit the night sky over the ocean near Australia, appeared as a blazing ball of fire, and then dissolved over the ocean – and the breathtaking scene was captured on camera.
A research vessel was in the waters off the coast of Tasmania at the perfect moment so its liver cameras could take pictures of the meteor as it entered the Earth's atmosphere.
The bright flash of light, which glowed green to the naked eye, was discovered on Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. local time.
Reports of the sighting flooded the media, but the only cameras that caught them were those on board the CSIRO RV Investigator.
John Hooper, CSIRO voyage manager who was on the ship, said it was a godsend after seeing the footage.
"What we saw while reviewing the livestream footage amazed us, the size and brightness of the meteor was incredible," said Hooper.
"The meteor crosses the sky right in front of the ship and then dissolves. It was amazing to see the footage, and we were very fortunate to have captured everything on the ship's livestream."
Although the event was exciting, Glen Nagle of CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science said it was a reminder that space is far from empty.
"Over 100 tons of natural space debris enter the earth's atmosphere every day," said Nagle.
“Most of it remains invisible as it occurs over an uninhabited area like the Southern Ocean.
He went on to explain that meteors enter the atmosphere at tremendous speeds, ranging from 25,000 to 160,000 miles per hour, converting their kinetic energy into other forms such as heat, light, and sound.
In space, these objects are asteroids that move on their own trajectory.
However, the path can change if they get too close to Earth due to the gravitational pull of our planet.
"When they enter our atmosphere, they become meteors – and their entry can be visually spectacular," said Nagle.
At the time the vision was captured, RV Investigator was in the Tasman Sea, approximately 100 km south of the Tasmanian coast.
The ship and crew carried out a seabed mapping project for Huon Marine Park for Parks Australia.
This region of the ocean is steaming with wondrous creatures, majestic underwater mountains, and thickets of hard coral – and it seems the area is a prime spot for sky-gazing too.
On Thursday morning, residents on the coast flooded the local media with reports of the meteor.
However, no one appeared to have pictures or footage of the event – expect for the research team.
"Cameras are everywhere, in our pockets and in our cities, but they need to be shown in the right place at the right time – RV Investigator was in that place and at that time," said Nagle.
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