Fireball over Argentina

A glowing trail left down by the meteor that exploded over Mendoza, Argentina on 29th September 2009.

Yesterday afternoon the inhabitants of Mendoza, La Pampa, San Luis, and Cordoba saw a meteorite coming down the sky. It finally desintegrated with a loud explosion before it hit the earth.

The object, which initially scared the residents, was seen yesterday in the General Alvear Department. It could be a meteorite or space junk, but the place where it fell isn't known, according to what the Copernicus Institute said today.

From 18.30 there was a cloud in the sky and the explosion was felt almost by all people, asaid Julio Alcaraz, police officer of Santa Isabel, a town located 320 kilometers west of Santa Rosa and 40 miles south of the border with Mendoza.

The chief of the Copernicus Institute, Jaime Garcia, said that "by the color, it would apparently be a meteorite." He added that "the meteorite's location is unknown but according to the information collected it wouldn't have landed on Mendoza".

He defined meteorite as "any space object that wanders among the planets, the stars, and that enters the atmosphere.

"It was like a fireball," commented several neighbors to a local radio last night. Some Pampean residents said they photographed it and sent to it to the local media. In fact what is seen is a trail in the sky.

The object fell in the middle of the field in an area of 300,000 hectares which is uninhabited. The risks of fire outbrakes was immediately ruled out as it had been snowing all day long and it was very humid.

The Civil Defense chief of the commune, Roberto Trigues, confirmed that the raking "was held from 20 up to 23hs. They could establish the hypothetical triangulation with the apex at Punta del Agua, Agua Escondida and Chocico or Santa Isabel, a little more to the South, which would be the impact zone.

This explosion is produced before hitting the earth and logically, as it is an important explosion, it produces a blast of air which causes the shaking of glasses in the houses.

Finally, Trigues said that this is a very large area, so "I would say it might be hard to find something".

Jaime Garcia, amateur astronomer in charge of the Copernicus Institute in San Rafael, said "nothing can be confirmed until an object is found, but we can say that according to testimonies, it is very likely to be a metal object such as a meteor."