A fireball lit up the sky on the evening of Dec 15, 2022 in Zhejiang. Instead of making wishes on this outer space object, some people were frightened, as the “fireball” was described as moving at a “very fast speed and very bright”, according to viewers’ comments on Sina Weibo.
Qin Hongyi from the Zhejiang Astronomical Association assessed it as a “fireball” with a brightness far beyond the full moon, most likely a meteorite. Qin claimed that the object is over 10 centimeters wide, and it may not burn out completely during its fall. It was time of Geminid meteor shower activity recently, so the object might come from it, reported The Paper.
The remains of the “fireball” were later found in rural areas. Expert Zheng Yongchun at the Chinese Society of Space Research examined the remains and claimed that the meteorite has great value in investigating Earth’s early history.
According to NASA, scientists estimated that about 48.5 tons of materials, such as meteorites, fall on Earth each day. Almost all the material is vaporized in Earth’s atmosphere, leaving a bright trail called “shooting stars”. Several meteors per hour can usually be seen on any given night, which are often called meteor showers.
How does a meteorite land on Earth? According to NASA, meteoroids, often seen as space rocks, enter Earth’s atmosphere at high speed and burn up, thus meteors occur. When a meteoroid survives a trip through the atmosphere and hits the ground, it’s called a meteorite. It is estimated that only 5 percent of meteorites can make it to Earth’s surface, and these can range from the size of a pebble to a fist.
Even knowing the science behind this alien event, you may still worry about the chances of being hit by a meteorite. According to UK media Mirror, the chance is pretty small – about one in 840,000,000. There is only one record of a person being hit by a meteorite, which took place in 1954 in the US. The meteor crashed through the window and landed on the “lucky” lady Ann Hodges.