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The meteorite in the Ionian Sea is not connected with comet ISON

29 November 2013 / 18:11:49  GRReporter
3392 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

A luminous flying object passing over the greater part of mainland Greece confused those who had observed the phenomenon and raised a lot of questions. The object fell into the Ionian Sea near the island of Zakynthos, its journey in the atmosphere being visible from many and distant areas, including the island of Kefallonia and the cities of Patras and Ioannina. Witnesses say they saw a strong light falling from the sky at a high speed and with a roar.

According to astronomers, it is the case of a falling meteor fireball, which is a common phenomenon in different parts of the planet. The director of the planetarium at the Eugene Evgenidis Foundation, Dionysis Simopoulos, explains the phenomenon to GRReporter.

"This particular meteorite does not differ from the hundreds of thousands of objects that fall to Earth. We are talking about a daily amount of 100 tons. Of course, the majority of these objects are very small. They burn in the atmosphere and fall in the form of cosmic dust rather than as a meteorite.

Furthermore, seas and oceans occupy two-thirds of our planet. Therefore, even if larger pieces, such as the one that fell near Zakynthos two days ago, fall no one can see them. The same is true for the large areas of dry land on the planet that are uninhabited.

The case of the meteorite on Wednesday caused a commotion because its journey had started from the skies over northern Greece, and perhaps over Bulgaria, from north to south, and at a great distance from the Earth's surface but many people saw it, even in regions that were far away from its trajectory.

According to eyewitness, it was the size of a soccer ball. The meteorite had exploded due to overheating and compression, when it had been a few kilometres away from the surface of the planet, probably where the atmosphere thickens, as stated by the people who had seen it. This means that, if some pieces of it had fallen into the sea, they would have been very small in size, in the range of 1-3 centimetres."

Meteorites could cause not only damage but also victims if they were able to reach Earth in their original form. Dionysis Simopoulos explains that this is almost impossible, "Imagine that an iron soccer ball is falling from the sky at the speed of thousands of kilometres per hour. If it falls on someone, it will surely kill him. However, the probability of this happening is minimal. It is estimated at 1:250,000 whereas the probability of becoming victims of homicide is 1:9,000. I would be more afraid of a murderer than of extraterrestrial objects."

The astronomer is adamant that the meteorite, which fell into the Ionian Sea, is not connected with comet ISON or the so-called "comet of the century".

"The comet was 1.16 million kilometres away from the surface of the sun at about 9:00 pm last night whereas the meteorite had fallen 24 hours earlier. Furthermore, the comet was at a distance of about 150 million kilometres from Earth last night, which means that the two phenomena are not connected in any way."

Tags: MeteoriteIonian SeaComet ISONAstronomerDionysis Simopoulos
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