Local residents got quite the show in the early morning hours this weekend -- and quite a fright as well.
Residents of the island nation of Cyprus were awoken with a start in the early morning hours of Friday when a gigantic fireball blasted through the night sky, lighting up the area and shaking the Earth with a boom. The fireball appears to have exploded before striking the ground, causing quite the sight for locals.
A huge green-white light filled the sky near the Troodos Mountain range at around 1 a.m., followed by a massive explosion that rocked the entire area. It called to mind the meteor that exploded above Chelyabinsk, Russia back in 2013, causing tremendous damage to buildings in the city and injuring 1,000 people. Earlier this year, a large fireball was reported off Brazil, striking the Earth with the force of 13,000 tons of TNT.
While they seem rare, such meteor impacts are quite common. NASA estimates that more than 13,500 asteroids or comets come within 30 million miles of Earth, and there are 30 meteorite impacts every year. We just don’t see most of them because 70 percent of the Earth is covered with water, and much of the land is uninhabited as well, so we aren’t able to witness many impacts.
“Some asteroids pass very close to Earth’s orbit around the Sun,” NASA says about meteors. “Scientists have found evidence that asteroids have hit our planet in the past. Usually, asteroids and smaller debris called meteoroids are too small to survive the passage through Earth’s atmosphere. When these burn up on their descent, they leave a beautiful trail of light known as a meteor or “shooting star.” Larger asteroids occasionally crash into Earth, however, and create craters, such as Arizona’s kilometer-wide Meteor Crater near Flagstaff.”
“Another impact site off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, which is buried by ocean sediments today, is believed to be a record of the event that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago,” it continues. “Fortunately for us, these big asteroid impacts are rare. A smaller rocky meteoroid or comet less than 100 yards in diameter is believed to have entered the atmosphere over the Tunguska region of Siberia in 1908. The resulting shockwave knocked down trees for hundreds of square miles.”
Cyprus is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean, and is the third largest as well as the third most populous island in the Mediterranean. It is south of Turkey, west of Syria, northwest of Israel and north of Egypt. Cyprus is a big tourist destination in the Mediterranean.
The Troodos mountain range is the largest mountain range in Cyprus, stretching across the western side of Cyprus. It has many famous mountain resorts, as well as Byzantine monasteries and churches.