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Asteroid shock: Bright fireball caught on camera above London, Ontario | Science | News

Hundreds of eyewitnesses across the Canadian city reported seeing the bright fireball streaking across the sky on January 22. Thankfully, a network of cameras from the Desert Fireball Network (DFN) captured the phenomenon, with planetary astronomer Peter Brown from the University of Western Ontario sharing the subsequent footage on Twitter.

In the brief video, a bright light can be heading towards Earth before it slowly fizzles out.

Mr Brown wrote on Twitter: “Bright fireball last night at 8:52 pm EST to the North of London. Video below shot from @WesternU@westernuCRONYN.”

Meteors produce a bright explosion of fire when they hit the atmosphere as it is the first time the space rock has ever met resistance.

Air seeps into the pores and cracks of the rock, pushing it apart and causing it to explode.

The International Meteor Organization said: “Fireballs are meteors that appear brighter than normal.

“Due to the velocity at which they strike the Earth’s atmosphere, fragments larger than one millimetre have the capability to produce a bright flash as they streak through the heavens above.

“These bright meteors are what we call fireballs and they often strike fear and awe for those who witness them.”

While this meteor was small, the bright flash reiterates the need for eyes on the skies to watch out for potential asteroid collisions.

READ MORE: Asteroid shock: Video shows all angles of Chelyabinsk meteor collision

While the chances of a major asteroid hitting Earth are small – NASA believes there is a one in 300,000 chance every year that a space rock which could cause regional damage will hit – the devastating prospect is not impossible.

However, there are some plans on the go which could help Earth against potential asteroid strikes.

NASA is currently studying Asteroid Bennu, where its OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft arrived last year.

Part of the reason NASA is sending the OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft there is to gather more information about the space rock which is 500 metres in length.

NASA fears that the asteroid, which has the potential to wipe out a country on Earth, could hit our planet within the next 120 years, with the next close flyby in 2135.

The mission will give vital information on how to deflect asteroids from their collision course with Earth, but NASA reiterates that while there is a small chance Earth could be impacted, “over millions of years, of all of the planets, Bennu is most likely to hit Venus.”


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