Several eyewitnesses saw a fiery object streaking across the sky in Turkey before producing a bright explosion. Local reports indicated that the object may have been a meteor that turned into a fireball after hitting Earth's atmosphere. The fireball incident occurred on the evening of May 27. Videos of the event captured by local residents were shared through Twitter.
Fireball Event in Turkey
According to local news website Daily Sabah, the object appeared at around 8:30 p.m. local time. It was spotted from several provinces such as Artvin, Erzurum, Ardahan, Tuncel and Sivas. Residents from these areas reported seeing a bright "ball of light" moving across the night sky. Videos captured by eyewitnesses showed the fireball flying towards the ground. Before disappearing from the sky, the object produced a bright flash. Ozan Unsalan, head of Turkey's Meteorite Tracking Project, noted that the object was most likely a meteor that exploded in the sky after entering Earth's atmosphere. Unsalan noted that he arrived at this conclusion after talking to several eyewitnesses.
"According to our first assessments, we think that it may have fallen into the sea," he said according to Daily Sabah. "I even asked the eyewitnesses, 'Was there a small shake?' Because this shaking of the ground is also expected, but it depends on the size and structure of the meteor. It can trigger a small earthquake."
Why Meteors Explode
Small meteors that hit Earth tend to explode in the sky due to the build-up of the air pressure in front of it. As indicated in certain models, the build-up causes the high-pressure air to enter the meteor through the small pores and cracks on its surface. As air enters the meteor, it causes the space rock's internal pressure to increase. Eventually, the internal air pressure will reach a point that would cause the meteor to explode.
According to the American Meteor Society, meteor fireballs that detonate in the air are referred to as bolides. "A fireball is another term for a very bright meteor, generally brighter than magnitude -4, which is about the same magnitude of the planet Venus in the morning or evening sky," the organization stated. "A bolide is a special type of fireball which explodes in a bright terminal flash at its end, often with visible fragmentation."