Increased fireball sightings coincide with the spike in Near-Earth asteroids

meteor-fireball

The number of fireball sightings has been increasing each year. Coincidentally, the number of near-Earth asteroids has as well.

The American Meteor Society has been cataloging the number of fireball sightings and data on the sighting since 2006. The most recent of which occurred on February 22, 2021, in the skies above Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan. 

AMS records show that 470 people filed a report claiming they saw the bright fireball around 6:23 am MST that day. Some 70 videos and 3 photos capturing the fiery object in the morning sky reveal it flew in a northwestward direction. 

It’s well known that thousands of fireballs enter Earth’s atmosphere each day. Some of them occur in the daytime making them hard to see with the naked eye. Some above remote deserts or oceans.

Interestingly enough, the number of fireballs has been ramping up over the past decade. In 2010, for example, there were a total of 18 reported fireball sightings. Compare that to 386 in 2020. The contrast is concerning. 

AMS

The reason this is concerning is that the number of near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) is also increasing. This could signify that the Earth has entered some sort of celestial debris field. Not to mention, all of this raises the potential for the Earth to be impacted by a meteor asteroid of significant size. 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory data reveals that in 2010 there were less than 7,000 NEAs cataloged compared to over 25,000 in 2020. In five years from now, the numbers will be off the charts.

NASA JPL

Just rationally thinking this through, with all the new space traffic it becomes terrifying to think that a 7-mile wide asteroid actually killed the dinosaurs. And although the U.S. government does have a plan to mitigate an asteroid if one were ever to become a threat to Earth–none have ever been mitigated officially. 

Raising concern, a report out of Air & Space Magazine reiterates the fact that it’s not always the big ones we should be worried about. 

“It’s the ones in between,” Diane Tedeschi writes for the publication. “Unless we can figure out a way to stop it, someday our planet will be hit by an asteroid big enough to cause local or regional destruction—or even worldwide climate change from the dust and gases an asteroid impact can kick up.”

If an asteroid impact were to affect your region are you prepared?

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