The sky over Cyprus was lit up by a meteor entering the Earth’s atmosphere, burning up on the way, according to astrophysicist Chrysanthos Fakas.
“On Monday night, those who were lucky saw a fireball lighting up the Cypriot sky.
“It was a meteor that entered the Earth’s atmosphere and, due to its pull from our gravity, developed great speeds and temperature,” said Fakas.
“Due to its relatively larger than usual size, it was able to travel a long distance into our atmosphere, coming relatively close to the surface of the Earth.
“That is why some people heard both the hiss and the pop as it exploded into smaller pieces,” Fakas said.
The meteor’s relatively large size managed to develop at very high speeds and enter denser layers of the atmosphere, and due to the enormous friction and resistance, it instantly exploded and fragmented into smaller pieces, which later dissipated in the sky.
“We must take into account that the earth’s atmosphere is super dense and is meant to protect us from all the celestial bodies that enter the earth’s sky”.
A meteor burning up in the sky is also known as a shooting star.
When meteoroids enter Earth’s atmosphere at high speed and burn up, the fireballs or “shooting stars” are called meteors.
When a meteoroid survives a trip through the atmosphere and hits the ground, it’s called a meteorite.
“It is more likely that the meteor in question is the remnants of Comet Swift-Tuttle… which the Earth will continue to encounter until August 24,” he said.
A comet is, by nature, doomed to lose its material on its travels.
Fakas explained: “These meteors begin to acquire tremendous velocities per second, as a result of which they begin to glow and burn in the sky, creating this wonderful bright flash.
“Some of them, the largest in size, may manage to reach the surface of the Earth without being completely metamorphosed”.
A similar meteor was observed in Cyprus in 2016 at the beginning of September when once more remnants of the comet Swift-Tuttle had entered the Earth’s atmosphere.