a spectacular artificial fireball in form of trail of fire yesterday crossed the Spanish skies. It is an increasingly common phenomenon, due to the increase in satellites that cross the earth’s orbit.

If you were in Andalusia, Castilla-La Mancha, the Community of Madrid, the Valencian Community, the Balearic Islands, Navarra or the Region of Murcia, and you looked at the sky around 10:55 at night, you could have seen a spectacular artificial fireball that crossed the stars for a few seconds, until it dissolved in the atmosphere.

In astronomy, a fireball it’s a very bright meteorwith the appearance of a ball of fire, which when it comes into contact with the atmosphere breaks into several piecesgenerating a trail of fire.

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In many cases, these fireballs generate a noise similar to an explosionwhen they are destroyed.

Sometimes they are meteorites from space, but there are also artificial fireballsgenerated by a device created by human beings, like the one seen last night April 1stin a good part of Spain:

How we see, at the time of recording the ball of fire it had already disintegrated, leaving behind several trails that faded before reaching the ground.

As explained by the Bolide and Meteorite Research Network (SPMN), coordinated by the CSIC, this artificial fireball has been formed by the reentry of the Useful load of the America’s secret satellitecalled USA 321 (ID 51077).

In this image you can see the trajectory that followed:

This satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral on January 13, 2022. What has fallen with Spain is the Useful loadwhich is how we define rocket that put the satellite into orbit. Its fall (reentry) was scheduled for a fork from March 31 to April 2.

This type of payload is designed so that disintegrates in the atmosphereso it is rare for any fragments to hit the ground, although it does happen.

It is always intended to fall into the sea, but it is not possible to calculate its trajectory exactly, because it depends on weather conditions, once it enters the atmosphere.


Every year the Bolide and Meteorite Research Network (SPMN) detects some 5,000 methorites that fall in Spain, so it is a frequent phenomenon.

In the case of artificial fireballs like the one of the April 1stcreated by the Useful load of the satellite USA 321 (ID 51077)are going to be more and more common, due to the spectacular increase in the put into orbit of satellites.


By Lay

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