Two balls of fire, caused by the Geminids, flying over the Peninsula

The rain of stars known as the Geminids caused the morning two balls of fire sobrevolaran on the sky of Spain, on the province of Córdoba and the other between the provinces of Palencia and Segovia.

Both phenomena were detected by the detector that the University of Huelva has installed in the astronomical complex of Hita (Toledo) and in the astronomical observatories at Calar Alto observatory (Almería), La Sagra (Granada), Huelva and Seville.

The astronomical complex of The Hita has indicated in a press note that these detectors work in the framework of the project Smart, whose purpose is to continuously monitor the sky in order to record and study the impact against the atmosphere and terrestrial rocks from different objects in the Solar System.

The analysis carried out by the principal investigator of the project, the professor of the University of Huelva José María Madiedo, has determined that the first of the two balls of fire occurred at 3:24 hours, to a height of about 101 kilometres over the province of Córdoba, and that was extinguished when it was at 43 km altitude.

An hour and a half later, around 4:48 hours, a second ball of fire produced by the Geminids flew over the north of the country.

This second ball of fire started at around 100 kilometres altitude over the province of Palencia and was extinguished at about 56 km altitude on the province of Segovia.

The complex of The Hita has highlighted which are the two Geminids brighter recorded during the peak activity of this shower of stars last night.

The rain of stars from the Geminids occurs as a result of the collision against the earth’s atmosphere of small fragments of rock detached from the asteroid Phaeton.

The majority of these fragments are as small as a grain of sand and produce shooting stars burn when entering the atmosphere at more than 122.000 kilometers per hour, while the rock fragments of larger size (larger than a walnut) are those that generate balls of fire like those seen early this morning.

The Geminids can be seen all the years between 4 and 17 December, and in 2017 its maximum activity took place in the night of 13 to 14 of December, at which time thousands of shooting stars have been able to be registered from the various observatories involved in the project Smart.

Although this activity will go down starting this Thursday, the number of shooting stars that can be seen during the next few nights will continue to be significant, has added to the astronomical complex of The Hita.

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