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25 Sep, 2020 12:23

WATCH: Rare ‘Earthgrazer’ meteorite bounces off Earth’s atmosphere back into space

An open-source global network of stargazers has shared remarkable footage showing a rare ‘Earthgrazer’ meteorite skimming off our planet’s atmosphere, and avoiding certain doom, earlier this week.

The ‘Earthgrazer’ blazed across the skies over northern Germany & the Netherlands on September 22 at an altitude of just 91km, well below our orbiting weather and TV satellites.

Unlike most other meteorites which burn up in the atmosphere, creating ‘shooting stars’ in the process, this particular lucky lump of space rock, likely a fragment of a comet or meteor, ‘bounced back’ into space.

The mercurial meteorite’s lucky escape from a fiery doom was spotted by cameras in the Global Meteor Network, which forms an integral part of Earth’s growing planetary defense network. 

The GMN aims to cover the globe with meteor monitoring cameras and inform the public via real-time alerts of impending space rock activity. 

“The network is basically a decentralised scientific instrument, made up of amateur astronomers and citizen scientists around the planet each with their own camera systems,” explains GMN founder Denis Vida.

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Essentially an open-source planetary defense agency, the GMN provides data such as meteoroid trajectories and orbits to both the public and the scientific community to help bolster our observation methods.

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So-called ‘Earthgrazers’ are rare enough, occurring only a handful of times each year, during which time thousands of meteors burn up, with only a tiny few surviving and making it to the ground.

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