Sure, you may have visited more countries than your friends, experienced more cultures than most, and eaten meals with names that you can’t even pronounce. But have you ever seen a meteor crash into Earth… from space?
European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli has, and he has the footage to prove it.
The ESA pieced together Nespoli’s footage taken while aboard the International Space Station and made it into a stunning timelapse video for all of us here on terra firma to enjoy. The minute and a half video shows the Earth from above as the Space Station flew over the southern Atlantic Ocean over to Kazakhstan.
Nespoli, who is working and living on the space station as part of the Italian Space Agency’s long-duration VITA mission, captured not only the curvature of Earth, a crazy lightening storm, and the ground below, but he was also fortunate to be in the right place at the right time to capture a meteor as it fell to Earth over the Atlantic Ocean just off the South African coast.
Did you watch the video for it? It’s there, in the upper right corner just between the :007 and :008 mark.
Yep. That’s it. That tiny little blip of almost nothing that you’d probably never notice on your own. Luckily for all of us mere mortals, dedicated astronauts like Nespoli are there to point it out for us.
According to the space agency, what you see is “basically a very bright meteoroid — a small bit of natural ‘space rock’ — entering Earth’s atmosphere and burning brighter than the background stars.”
The one you see in the video was moving much faster than a typical meteoroid, according to the agency, at an estimated speed of around 40 kilometers per second.
"This speed is actually quite fast for meteoroids, which typically enter the atmosphere at around 20 km/s," Rüdiger Jehn of the Space Situational Awareness Programme wrote in the YouTube comments.
OK, yeah, the meteor may be the least exciting part of this video, but it’s rare and cool nonetheless.