Meteor seen across Puerto Rico at approximately 8:02 PM Friday 7th May 2021 (La Sociedad de Astronomía del Caribe)
A bright meteor was spotted across the night skies of the Greater Antilles on Friday night. Those who spotted it say the brilliant meteor appeared as a “huge green ball with a long tail.”
The meteor was visible from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Cuba at approximately 8:02 PM Friday 7th May 2021.
According to the Caribbean Astronomy Society (SAC), “It was a space rock of metallic content friction with our atmosphere.”
Most meteors of metallic contents have iron and nickel, and usually, the green color is due to the presence of nickel on the space rock.
Although it was visible looking northwest, the meteor trajectory was from the north of Puerto Rico descending westward, over the sea, SAC indicated.
The meteor appeared so brightly, the SAC said, “even in some areas with cloudiness, the fireball caused a great glow behind the clouds, while others with clearer skies managed to see directly the great spectacle that the meteor gave.”
Meteor and meteorite strikes are more common than you might think. Dust-grain size meteoroids strike the Earth’s atmosphere almost constantly, but they often go unnoticed. Meteoroids between a millimeter and a centimeter burn up in the atmosphere and appear to us as shooting stars.
Larger strikes are less common—a one-meter meteoroid strikes the Earth once each year on average and would reach the ground as smaller debris, while a 100-meter meteoroid strikes the Earth approximately every 10,000 years, according to a Tufts University fact sheet. Meteoroids over 1 kilometer hitting Earth are catastrophic events that occur every 1 million years on average.
Meteoroids do not discriminate where they land, nor where they enter the earth’s atmosphere. Hence, it is well within the possibility that events such as this could happen across Trinidad, Tobago, or any other Caribbean islands.
But medium-size strikes can be dramatic spectacles—and in some cases, dangerous. The Chelyabinsk meteor that struck southern Russia in February 2013 blew out windows and caused indirect injuries to almost 1,500 people. You can read about other coverage of celestial events in the Caribbean here. Presently, the Eta Aquriids Meteor Shower is ongoing.