Fireball explodes in the sky over Kyiv

On the evening of April 19, residents of Kyiv saw a powerful flash in the sky. First there was information about the work of the air defense systems, then people started talking about the fall of an American satellite. It was confirmed that it was a bolide that exploded in the upper layers of the Earth’s atmosphere.

Bolide over Kyiv. Source:

Explosion over Kyiv

Late in the evening on April 19, residents of Kyiv saw a powerful flash in the sky and heard the sound of an explosion. Immediately after that, an air attack warning siren sounded. As Ukraine’s war with Russia continues, a new rocket attack was a more likely explanation.

However, it quickly became known that in fact Kyiv’s air defense did not work, and the most likely was the entry into the upper atmosphere of a large meteoroid or a spent satellite. The most likely candidate was called the old American satellite RHESSI, which was supposed to enter the atmosphere that night and burn up. 

However, the fact that RHESSI’s orbit has an inclination of only 38 degrees is against this version, that is, it simply could not fly over Kyiv, which is located much to the north. In addition, NASA promptly reported that their satellite was still in orbit.

“The bright flash seen over Kyiv has NOTHING TO DO with the reentry of NASA’s RHESSI satellite, whose orbit doesn’t come within thousands of kilometers of Ukraine,” tweeted California astronomer Jonathan McDowell.

Meanwhile, the network has a lot of videos showing the moment of the fall. They can clearly be traced that after the main flash that occurred at a high altitude, the body continued to fall and glow at the same time. So, in the end, the main version of the event was the fireball.

What is a bolide and why is it a common phenomenon

On the morning of April 20, the Main Center for Special Control, an organization engaged in tracking geophysical phenomena in Ukraine, made its statement about the incident. They reported that on April 19, at 09:57 p.m. GMT+3, a high-energy acoustic event was recorded by infrasonic means at their disposal, which was identified as the entry of a large body into the dense layers of the atmosphere over the Kyiv region.

So almost certainly the residents of Kyiv were still scared by the bolide. This word refers to large meteors that look like a fireball in flight, which can flare up once or several times before falling apart and fading out.

In fact, bolides are space rocks ranging in size from several tens of centimeters to several meters, which wander through space for millions of years before meeting the Earth. People have not yet learned to track them reliably, only recently it was possible to examine several of them in a matter of minutes before entering the atmosphere.

Space rocks can consist of different materials and enter the atmosphere at different speeds and angles. Therefore, their behavior can be very different. Some of them explode at high altitude, others above the surface.

Large meteors appear over the Earth regularly, almost every few days. The absolute majority of bolides does not pose any danger to people, since most of their material burns. However, individual fragments of these bodies may fall to the ground. We call them meteorites. So far, it has not been reported whether such debris could have remained from the Kyiv event.

According to

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