‘Giant fireball’ over Calabria, Sicily and Malta could be part of Delta Aquarids meteor shower

Witnesses see white ball of fire, ahead of the shower of meteors from the Delta Aquarids over July and August

Staff Reporter
22 July 2016, 8:37am
File photo of meteor
File photo of meteor
A meteor passing over Calabria, Sicily and Malta in the Mediterranean was witnessed by skygazers yesterday at 11pm, as the celestial object ploughed through the summer night sky towards the southeast.

A full moon illuminated the field through which the ‘white ball of fire’, as some witnesses described it, tore across: the sighting comes ahead of the Delta Aquarids shower which Science Alert says will be most visible in the southern hemisphere.

While the peak for the shower will be on July 28 and 29, the display will continue until around August 23, overlapping with the Perseid shower, which occurs in mid-August.

Catching a glimpse of the Delta Aquarids will very much depend on your location, though the best time to watch the sky for these shooting stars will be around midnight.

Because meteors can be quite faint, it is best to look out for them in a dark sky, free of moonlight and artificial lights. 

Slooh, an online observatory, will be live streaming the meteor shower from an observatory on the Canary Islands, with meteorologists talking through what can be seen, and taking questions from viewers.  

Meteor showers occur when a comet comes close to the sun and produces debris – meteoroids – that spread around the comet’s orbit. 

The Earth experiences a meteor shower when the Earth’s orbit coincides with the comet’s.   

Since meteoroids that create a meteor shower all move on a parallel path, and at the same speed, they seem to originate from a single point in the sky to observers on Earth, known as the radiant.