Bright fireball on February 23rd 2016


pathLast February 232016, at 06:54 Spanish local time (5:54 UT), a fireball brighter than the full moon, could be observed in a big area of Spain. This phenomena has been recorded from Calar Alto Observatory, as from the fireball detection station operated at La Hita (Toledo) and Sevilla observatories.

The data analysis carried out by the project PI Professor José María Madiedo (University of Huelva) revealed that this event was produced by the impact against our atmosphere of a rock at a speed of about 111.000 km/h, starting the fireball at an altitude of about 93 km over the vertical of Almodóvar del Pinar (Cuenca). Then the object moved southeastward, finishing above the vertical of Requena (Valencia).

During last days, there were an irruption of an important desert dust air mass coming from Africa. The conditions for February 23th can be seen on the figure below. However, the images and the video of the fireball show how Calar Alto, due to its special location, was above such dust layer preserving very good observing conditions.


This fireball was not observed from the Calar Alto fireball detection station, but from the north surveillance webca. Below is the video.

Calar Alto (CAHA) fireball detection station, together with the one at the Observatory of Sierra Nevada (IAA-CSIC) and others placed at different locations in Spain, are part of the S.M.A.R.T. project led by Professor José María Madiedo (University of Huelva) to track that kind of objects. Specifically, Calar Alto (CAHA) station and the one at Sierra Nevada (IAA-CSIC) constitute a collaboration agreement between Professor Madiedo and both institutions.