Fireball above Madrid (Spain) on the night of January 21st 2021

pathOn the night of January 21th 2021, at 2h56 UT, a bright fireball above Madrid (Spain) was registered with the SMART Project’s detectors operated at Calar Alto (Almería), La Hita (Toledo), La Sagra (Granada) and Seville observatories.

Although Spain’s skies were cloudy during the whole night, one of the external surveillance cameras of Calar Alto Observatory in Almería (South Spain) also registered this event.

Following the preliminary analysis carried out by Professor José María Madiedo (Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía IAA-CSIC), and SMART project's PI, this event was caused by a rock detached from a asteroid which impacted against our atmosphere at an estimated speed of 126.000 km/h.

The luminous part of the phenomena started at an altitude of 84 km above the west part of Madrid province (mid Spain). Then the object moved southeastward towards Madrid City, and finished at an altitude of 21 km above Spain’s capital.

Note the distance from Calar Alto Observatory to the place where this event took place is more than 400 km.

The above image shows the path this fireball followed above Madrid province.

Below are the video registered with the Calar Alto Observatory north surveillance camera.


Calar Alto (CAHA) fireball detection station, together with the one at the Observatory of Sierra Nevada (IAA-CSIC) and others placed at different locations in Spain, are part of the S.M.A.R.T. project led by Professor José María Madiedo (IAA) to track that kind of objects. Specifically, Calar Alto (CAHA) station and the one at Sierra Nevada (IAA-CSIC) constitute a collaboration agreement between the IAA researcher José María Madiedo and both institutions.