Massive fireball lights up Bucharest sky as meteor disintegrates

A huge ball of fire, a large meteor entering the Earth’s atmosphere, disintegrated in a ball of fire lighting up the Bucharest sky in the early hours of the morning on January 7th.

Citizens at several other cities in southestern Romania also witnessed the amazing event.

According to the American Meteor Society, what residents saw was a bolide, a special type of fireball that explodes in a bright terminal flash at its end.

Several residents’ devices and CCTVs were able to capture the spectacular sight, including those at the city’s airport.

Despite the giant explosion, the ball of fire did not cause any significant damage when it hit the ground.

Fireball Bucharest

The fireball captured by a Bucharest airport CCTV camera.

ROSA, the Romanian Space Agency, explained that the event was caused by a meteor hitting the Earth’s atmosphere.

Marius-Ioan Piso, President of the Romanian Space Agency, said:

“We do not have very accurate data up so far, but a report will be made in the next days. Based on the information we do have until now, we can estimate that the phenomenon occured at an altitude of 50-70 km, from east to west, over the area between Bucharest and Vrancea.”

“This phenomenon is common, only last night about 30 meteors like this one were monitored in the United States of America, the only country that has an operating monitoring system for such objects.”

According to witnesses, the meteor emitted a bright greenish light that was accompanied by loud booms.

ROSA has so far not managed to find any debris.

The American Meteor Society believes the fireball may have been part of the Quadrantids meteor shower. Meteors from this shower typically produce bright fireballs.

Difference between meteor, meteorite and meteoroid

A meteor is the flash of light we see in the night sky. According to HubbleSite “Meteor refers to the flash of light caused by the debris, not the debris itself.”

The debris is called a meteoroid. A meteoroid is simply a piece of interplanetary matter that is less than one kilometer long. Usually it is only a few millimeters in size.

A meteorite is any part of a meteoroid that survives the fall through the atmosphere. The bits that are found on the ground are meteorites.

Video – Meteor fireball captured over Bucharest

This CCTV footage recorded by NXDATA-2 rooftop security camera shows the meteor disintigration over the sky in Bucharest, Romania.