A meteor lit up the night in Brittany, Normandy and Pays de la Loire

A meteor lit up the night in Brittany, Normandy and Pays de la Loire


Weight: 2.6kg. Speed: 45,000 km/h. Observed trajectory: “From the Orne to the south of Mayenne”, notes Eric Lagadec, astronomer at the observatory of the Côte d’Azur and president of the French Society of Astronomy and Astrophysics. This small pebble from space, coming from an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, was observed on Saturday April 16, 2022 at 10:37 p.m. by around fifty witnesses, as indicated by the Fripon network on its Vigie Ciel website, from Nantes to Finistère,

The bolide makes a flash when it enters the atmosphere

The “bolide” – name given to a very bright meteor – was also observed by the cameras of this network, which has the mission of detecting celestial bodies passing above our heads. We thus observe traces of its lightning passage – a few seconds, at most – above Le Mans, Nantes, Angers, Rennes and even in the United Kingdom.

The luminous trail of the celestial fireball observed, in Angers, at 10:37 p.m., by the Fripon network camera. | FRIPON NETWORK

But how is it that a pebble, no bigger than a grapefruit and moving at an altitude of 70 km, shines with such brilliance? “Because of its speed, the meteoroid ignites on entering the atmosphere, explains Eric Lagadec. In contact with the air, it disintegrates and it creates a lot of energy. It’s the flash that we saw. » In fact, the meteor was completely consumed in the sky. It is therefore not a meteorite, which is a pebble from space and found on Earth.

Two meteoroids for the price of one

Surprise on this Easter eve, it is not one but two fireballs that have been observed in the French sky: “Another was visible in broad daylight in the south-east of France around 12:30 p.m.reveals the astronomer. It’s rare that there are two in the same day. I don’t remember this ever happening. »

Passed in the middle of the day, this diurnal meteoroid went more unnoticed. Hence the Fripon network’s appeal to citizens who have seen the racing car pass to testify on their site. The goal ? “To redo the trajectory of the meteoroid and to better understand it”, recalls Eric Lagadec. When it comes to rock in space, everyone can do their part.

A meteor lit up the night in Brittany, Normandy and Pays de la Loire

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