Ultra-rare meteor footage shows HUGE fireball streaking across sky and breaking up

INCREDIBLE footage of a fiery meteor streaking across the night sky last week has gone viral online.

Captured from a research boat off the coast of Tasmania, the video shows space debris flashing a brilliant green before harmlessly breaking apart.

The vessel, called the RV Investigator, is operated by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

The national research group broadcasts a 24/7 livestream from a camera on top of the ship.

"The meteor crosses the sky directly in front of the ship and then breaks up," CSIRO Voyage Manager John Hooper said last week.

"It was amazing to watch the footage and we were very fortunate that we captured it all on the ship livestream."

He added: "The size and brightness of the meteor was incredible."

According to a CSIRO blog post, the meteor, which was bright green, appeared on November 18.

It was spotted by the bridge crew and reported to the science staff on board.

At the time of the recording, Investigator was in the Tasman Sea about 60 miles (100km) off the southern Tasmanian coast.

Investigator is currently carrying out seafloor mapping for Parks Australia and running sea trials for marine equipment.

CSIRO astronomy expert Glen Nagle said the footage acts as a reminder that space is far from empty.

"Over 100 tonnes of natural space debris enters Earth's atmosphere every day," Mr Nagle said.

"Most of it goes unseen as it occurs over an unpopulated area like the southern ocean."

What’s the difference between an asteroid, meteor and comet?

  • Asteroid: An asteroid is a small rocky body that orbits the Sun. Most are found in the asteroid belt (between Mars and Jupiter) but they can be found anywhere (including in a path that can impact Earth)
  • Meteoroid: When two asteroids hit each other, the small chunks that break off are called meteoroids
  • Meteor: If a meteoroid enters the Earth's atmosphere, it begins to vapourise and then becomes a meteor. On Earth, it'll look like a streak of light in the sky, because the rock is burning up
  • Meteorite: If a meteoroid doesn't vapourise completely and survives the trip through Earth's atmosphere, it can land on the Earth. At that point, it becomes a meteorite
  • Comet: Like asteroids, a comet orbits the Sun. However rather than being made mostly of rock, a comet contains lots of ice and gas, which can result in amazing tails forming behind them (thanks to the ice and dust vapourising)

He added: "Many meteors were once asteroids, travelling through space on their own trajectory.

"As they enter our atmosphere, they become meteors – and their entry can be visually spectacular."

Thousands of bits of space debris – many of them meteors – are tracked by Nasa throughout the year to keep an eye on their trajectories.

Fortunately, most are too small to pose any threat to Earth, and those that are dangerously large aren't projected to hit our planet any time soon.

In other news, the biggest solar flare since 2017 and new sunspots suggests our star could be 'waking up', according to Nasa.

A SpaceX rocket launched two US astronauts into orbit earlier this year.

And, Flat-Earth conspiracy theorists were ridiculed on social media after footage from the launch captured the curvature of our planet.

What do you make of the footage? Let us know in the comments…

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