Meteor news: Cuba rattled as fireball explodes in the night skies – ‘Lit up everything’

Jamaica: Dashcam captures fireball over capital of Kingston

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The suspected meteor passed over the eastern parts of Cuba on Friday night, where it erupted into a spectacular fireball. Scientists announced on Saturday the fireball was likely caused by a small space rock being torn apart as it entered the atmosphere. When meteors come tumbling towards the planet, the high-pressure of air in front of them forces its way into the pores and cracks on their bodies.

The force causes the meteors to break apart in a blinding flash of light.

Jay Melosh, a professor of planetary sciences at Purdue University, explained: “There’s a big gradient between high-pressure air in front of the meteor and the vacuum of air behind it.

“If the air can move through the passages in the meteorite, it can easily get inside and blow off pieces.”

On Friday, the fireball was observed over the towns of Moa, Sagua de Tanamo and Maisí.

According to Enrique Arango Arias, head of Cuba’s National Seismological Service, instruments fine-tuned to detect seismic activity were alerted to the fireball’s explosion.

He said the instruments “registered the expansive wave” of the blast.

Social media users have also reported seeing a red and white light in the night sky, followed by an explosion.

The blast is believed to have occurred at about 10.06pm local time.

One video shared on Twitter appears to show a group of revellers being startled by the fireball.

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The unverified video shows two women at a party dancing to loud music when one of them points to the sky.

Multiple flashes of light then go off in rapid succession as the women scream.

According to Elier Pila Fariñas of the Cuban Meteorological Institute, satellites registered the flash as possible lightning although the skies were clear at the time.

But in a series of tweets on Saturday, he said it was caused by a “possible meteorite”.

The meteor was also reportedly seen from Jamaica, which is only about 200 miles to the south of the island.

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Eyewitness Hilario Quintana Charlot was reported saying he saw a light descent in the sky “which lit up everything, and then two or three minutes later, two explosions in a row”.

A dashcam video shared on Twitter also shows the fireball falling through the sky, before exploding as it hit the horizon.

The uploader said: “If there is anybody out there who can explain what just happened, please do.”

One person commented on the footage, saying: “Meteor exploded in Cuba, but we saw it in Jamaica.”

Another person said: “Saw this too, was a bit closer, I just made a wish.”

A third person even said they saw the fireball from Florida and were lucky enough to catch it on a timelapse video.

Every day, the planet is bombarded with hundreds of tonnes of space dust and debris, most of which is no bigger than grains of sand.

Occasionally, bigger space rocks will enter the atmosphere and burn up before reaching the ground.

The US space agency NASA estimates anything smaller than 82ft (25m) will not survive the fiery descent through the atmosphere.

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