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A meteoroid as seen from the Space Station

Paolo Nespoli, ESA meteoroid_lq

This article was originally written by the European Space Agency. Continue reading via, here.

A series of night-time photos were taken by ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli on 5 November around 22:33 GMT, here shown in a time-lapse with a 1-second interval, while the Space Station was flying from the southern Atlantic Ocean over to Kazakhstan. Paolo was lucky enough to capture a fast fireball falling to Earth over the Atlantic Ocean, off the South Africa west coast — look closely between 00:07 and 00:08 seconds at upper right in this video.

A fireball is basically a very bright meteoroid — a small bit of natural “space rock” — entering Earth’s atmosphere and burning brighter than the background stars. This particular meteoroid was moving much faster than typical, with an estimated speed of around 40 km/s, according to experts working on near-Earth objects (NEOs) in ESA’s Space Situational Awareness Programme.


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His Very Own Asteroid: Space Rock Named for Italian Astronaut


This article was published by Elizabeth Howell, Contributor. Read the full article here.

A European astronaut now has a permanent presence in space. Luca Parmitano — who flew on the International Space Station in 2013 — has an asteroid named after him, called “37627 Lucaparmitano.”

The asteroid, formerly known just as 1993 TD, was discovered in 1993 by Italian astronomer Vincenzo Silvano Casulli, at the Osservatorio di Vallemare di Borbona in Italy’s Lazio region, northeast of Rome, according to a statement from the European Space Agency.

In the statement, Casulli said renaming the asteroid was appropriate because “Luca, who flew six months on the Space Station, didn’t have his own asteroid.” The name has been approved by the International Astronomical Union, the official body that oversees astronomical monikers.

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