KOTA KINABALU: The bright object emitting booming and explosion sound that streaked across the West Coast of Sabah’s sky last night has been confirmed to be a meteorite known as bolide or fireball.
Malaysia Space Agency (Angkasa) in a statement opined that based on information from the sightings at about 11.30pm Monday the bright light and loud boom followed by explosion sound was created by frictions as the meteorite made its way into the earth’s atmosphere.
The agency stated that meteorites are normally smaller fragments of asteroids, which measure less than 0.5 square metre. Due to its high velocity, the meteorite would heat up before being engulfed in flames upon entering the atmosphere.
Explosion sound could then be heard as the flames burnt out immediately after penetrating the atmoshphere , said the agency, adding that 95 per cent of the meteorites turned into dust after the explosion.
Angkasa advised the public to refrain from spreading unverified stories about the incident.
Meanwhile, Sabah News Today was told by a Sabah Stargazers astronomer, Emma Zulaiha Zulkifli the loud booming sound and bright light were characteristics of a bolide or fireball.
According to her, a bolide produced loud noise because it travelled faster than the speed of sound creating a sonic boom.
“We are fortunate because the sonic boom last night was not as loud as the one that occured in 2013 in Chelyabinsk, Rusia when a superbolide sonic boom shattered building glass and even caused buildings to crack, she said.
Last night’s incident was also being investigated by the American Meteor Society filed under Fireball Reports, where three reports, two from Tuaran and one Tamparuli were pending review by the society’s team in its website amsmeteors.org.
The first report was from Tuaran submitted by one, Jefferson G who observed the fireball at 11.30pm moving “down right to up left” at a descent angle of 354 degrees for about 45 seconds.
He described the colour as blue, orange, yellow and red. His remarks in the report were “after a few second I heard explosion sound and (felt) vibration.”
Another report and photo from Tuaran was submitted by Christye M who observed the fireball moving from down left to up right at the descent angle of 45degrees for 7.5 seconds.
Christye described the colour of the light as orange and red, adding that the loud booming sound could be heard from Kota Kinabalu to Kota Belud and the ground also shook.
The third report was from Zico J who observed the fireball at 11.28pm for 3.5 seconds in Tamparuli.-SabahNewsToday