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A rare meteorite races across the German night sky and breaks into many pieces – a panorama

An unusually large meteorite fell over the Volkswagen city of Wolfsburg on Monday night. FOCUS’s online correspondent, Ulf Lüdeke, happened to see the sky’s spectacle.

“I had just been on the phone with my girlfriend and I had been staring through a window at the same part of the southern sky for about two hours in the middle of the night in complete darkness. Suddenly a meteor streaked across the sky from the upper right of the window to the lower left. It fell towards the Earth much slower than a shooting star The stars, and they were many times larger and brighter, trailing off a long tail, and grew larger and larger after four or five seconds, and broke into a few fragments before they could no longer be seen just above the horizon. I was. Incredibly charming and beautiful.”

A rare meteor in the sky over Wolfsburg

Our reporter, who had been passionate about astronomy from a young age, called the planetariums in Wolfsburg the next day and asked if there were any other sightings or perhaps video footage. And he was lucky. Because it’s on the roof of the planetarium For some time now, a very sensitive “NetSurveillance NVT camera,” part of a European network of nearly 20 cameras, has recorded the trajectory of the remarkable fireball at 00:45 for over 10 seconds. The AllSky7-Fireball network has been tracking “fireballs,” or fireballs, as these large meteors are called, since 2018.

For astronomers, such recordings and observations can be of great interest. Unlike bright stars, which are bright but small and nothing more than dust grains from space, which burn up when they enter Earth’s dense atmosphere and often weigh a few tenths of a gram, bolides can also be ten centimeters across and larger. Planetary scientist Julia Lanz Crockert, scientific director of the planetarium, explains this to our correspondent. “Through these observations, the locations of meteorites falling can be determined and found on Earth, which is then intensively researched.”

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In 2002 there was already a “meteor shower” in Germany

The highly sensitive NetSurveillance NVT cameras work with fish-eye lenses that cover the entire celestial sphere and independently detect and sometimes independently evaluate meteors and meteors throughout the night. In Europe, 5,000 meteors are recorded in this way each year.

In 2002, three fragments of the meteorite of the same name, with a total weight of six kilograms, were recovered for the first time in Germany near Neuschwanstein Castle in the Amergau Alps by simultaneous photographic recordings. This meteorite also exploded into several parts on its fall path – and then crashed to the ground in what is called a dark flight phase. The track was only six seconds long.

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