BANGKOK – The National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT) has indicated that the bright green light heading southwest seen in the sky in many parts of the country yesterday evening was most likely a meteor entering the earth’s atmosphere.
The director of NARIT, Associate Professor Boonraksa Soonthorntham, explained that pictures and video images suggest that there is a high probability that the meteor was a “fireball”, which occurs when a meteor enters the earth’s atmosphere at a very high speed. Fireballs occur when friction with the atmosphere causes so much heat on the meteor that it lights up, and when seen from the earth, appears to have a long tail of white smoke. The brightness of the fireball’s blaze depends largely on its mass.
This is similar to another recent fireball seen over the central region just two months ago on September 7, but yesterday’s object gave off a green light, suggesting that a chromium element was likely present inside, which is typical in iron meteors. Since the fireball was visible in many regions of the country, it also indicates that the meteor was located very high up in the sky.
Assoc. Prof. Boonraksa indicates that there are many objects that can create this kind of phenomenon. First is a planetoid that normally comes close to the earth, second are retired old satellite parts that have been left in orbit, objects which can be pulled from earth’s gravity into the earth’s atmosphere.
NARIT pointed out that this phenomenon is exciting as it already happened twice within a two month period and the public organization stresses that the public should not panic, as the chance from damage from such an occurrence is very low. Most of the time, particles will burn out completely before they impact the earth and many meteors enter the earth’s atmosphere daily, but most of the time they are seen as shooting stars.
NARIT said that it will continue to gather evidence and will soon officially make a conclusion about the object. The public can help the agency by sending more information, captured video or footage of the occurrence to NARIT or by calling 091-0679658 or 098-0714558.