Dazzling fireball turns night into day over northern Argentina

An exceptionally bright fireball streaked through the sky over northern Argentina early Sunday morning, lighting up the night as brightly as daylight for a few moments.

The fireball appeared in the sky at just before 3:30 am, April 21st, and was reportedly witnessed by thousands of people. Video footage taken from someone attending a concert and from traffic cameras in the city of Santiago del Estero show it flaring up as bright as the Sun, then going through a second flare-up before disappearing, leaving only a fiery trail behind.

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Unlike the meteorite that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, back on February 15th, the object that caused this fireball was probably fairly small. According to the Argentina news source Continental.com.ar, Jorge Coghlan, the director of the Astronomical Observatory of Santa Fe, said (translated from Spanish) that it was a "rock of 40-45 centimetres" that entered our atmosphere at "more than 130,000 kilometres per hour."

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With the Lyrid meteor shower peaking last night, this fireball is similar to what happened last year, when a bright fireball was seen over California and Nevada on the morning of April 22nd. The fireball set off a loud sonic boom as it flared through the morning sky, and pieces of the rock that caused it were recovered from Sutter's Mill, California in the months that followed.

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