It was a spectacular sight over Cyprus as a huge meteor streaked across the sky.
A gigantic fireball lit up the skies in Cyprus in the early morning hours of Friday local time, causing not only an incredible burst of light but also a boom so loud that the ground shook. Authorities don’t believe the meteor hit the Earth and more likely exploded in the sky.
People in the Troodos Mountain range reported green-white lights at around 1 a.m. and then tremendous blasts. Such meteors seem rare because we don’t see them often, but they are fairly common, with more than 13,500 asteroids or comets coming within 30 million miles of Earth and 30 meteorite impacts annually. Since our planet is 70 percent water, and even much of land is uninhabited, most happen in areas where humans can’t witness them.
The giant fireball called to mind the 2013 meteor that struck the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, exploded a few miles above Earth can causing a tremendous blast that damaged buildings and injured more than 1,000 people. In February of this year, a fireball smashed into the ocean off Brazil, releasing energy equivalent to 13,000 tons of TNT.
“Some asteroids pass very close to Earth’s orbit around the Sun,” NASA says about meteors. “Scientists have found evidence that asteroids have hit our planet in the past. Usually, asteroids and smaller debris called meteoroids are too small to survive the passage through Earth’s atmosphere. When these burn up on their descent, they leave a beautiful trail of light known as a meteor or “shooting star.” Larger asteroids occasionally crash into Earth, however, and create craters, such as Arizona’s kilometer-wide Meteor Crater near Flagstaff.”
“Another impact site off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, which is buried by ocean sediments today, is believed to be a record of the event that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago,” it continues. “Fortunately for us, these big asteroid impacts are rare. A smaller rocky meteoroid or comet less than 100 yards in diameter is believed to have entered the atmosphere over the Tunguska region of Siberia in 1908. The resulting shockwave knocked down trees for hundreds of square miles.”