Fireball atmospheric trajectory over southern Spain and Portugal


A long and fast trail grazing meteor with an absolute magnitude estimated of -2, was captured on 20th January under clear sky condition by three PMN (Portuguese Meteor Network) systems; TEMPLAR5, TEMPLAR2 and TEMPLAR4.

TEMPLAR5 summed image (IPT-Tomar).

TEMPLAR2 summed image (Linhaceira-Tomar).

TEMPLAR4 summed image (Linhaceira-Tomar).

The meteor started at East (Templar5 at 00:03:32-35), crossed from left to right Templar2’s entire field at south (00:03:34-37) and ended at southwest at Templar4’s field (00:03:37). Rui Gonçalves has calculated the trajectory, but unfortunately the meteor had traveled through PMN gaps, and only his systems caught this event. Systems from south Spain were under clouds. The baseline between Templar5 and Templar2&4 are only 9 km apart. Nevertheless, the trajectory seems correct (with interception plane’s angle of 1.8°) and 0.0° horizontal angle. UFOrbiter gives roughly the same result. The meteor was detected from 106.6 km to 113.0 km with an initial velocity of about 66.0 km/s. The velocity remains almost constant with small increase ?!. Estimated photometric mass is very small (about 1 g).

Ground projection from UFOrbit software.

At start, altitude is decreasing (for just 0,32 s) then altitude increases until the meteor vanished after a flight of about 300 km in the course of 4,6 s. The light curve values decreases also as the meteor interacts less and lesser with the thin upper Earth atmosphere.

Magnitude raw data from Templar5, 2 and 4.

Absolute Magnitude data (instrumentally corrected) from Templar5, 2 and 4.

Altitude versus time.

Rui Gonçalves