Queensland meteor raises question on near-Earth asteroid monitoring

By @vitthernandez on
Meteorite
A meteorite creates a streak of light across the night sky over the North Yorkshire moors at Leaholm, near Whitby, northern England, April 26, 2015 Reuters/Steven Watt

Queensland residents reported hearing a loud bang, seeing a flash in the sky and feeling the ground shake on Monday night at about 8 pm. This has led residents to speculate there was a meteorite strike in central Queensland.

The reports were coming from residents who live near Gladstone which is about 400 kilometres north of Brisbane, police confirm. Owen Bennedick, a private astronomer from Wappa Falls Observatory, also got reports from a 100-kilometre radius, according to Brisbane Times.

He believes the shockwaves were caused by a space rock with hit Earth or exploded in the sky above the planet. It would result in an air burst which sends shockwaves over a wide area.

Bennedick points out that not enough is being done to monitor the thousands of objects that orbit the Earth, including asteroids one kilometre or bigger in diameter. He says besides the insufficient research being done on a global scale, there are not enough observatories or observing to do it, reports Sydney Morning Herald.

He observes that when there is a big scare, such as when comet Schumacher-Levy hit Jupiter or an asteroid exploded over Chelyabinsk, everyone runs to the telescope and searchers for a while. However, “then they get bored and go off and do other things,” laments Bennedick.

The astronomer explains that when meteorites enter the Earth’s atmosphere, it gets to 8,000 or 10,000 degrees. Since it is cold on the inside and boiling on the outside, sometimes it has air pockets which super heats the meteorite and explodes.

Geosciences Australia says there was no reports of an earthquake at the area. Jonathan McDowell, a Harvard astrophysicist, believes it was a meteor and not a comet, “or Queensland wouldn’t exist anymore.”

VIDEO: Meteor Hits Australian Coast

Source: World-Reality News

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