The bolide of May 24 filmed by the Prisma camera in Piacenza
© National Institute of AstrophysicsThe bolide of May 24 filmed by the Prisma camera in Piacenza
Last night two very bright meteors ("bolides") crossed the Italian skies, the first shortly after midnight and the second around half past four in the morning. The first involved the northern skies, the second Sardinia. The midnight one, in particular, was filmed by 11 Prisma cameras, i.e. the First Italian Network for the Systematic Surveillance of Meteors and the Atmosphere , an initiative promoted by the National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF).

The first calculations indicate that the bolide was spotted at an altitude of 75 kilometers, while it was falling at 15.8 kilometers per second, and disappeared at an altitude of 28 km, when the speed was reduced by two thirds due to friction with the 'atmosphere. Trajectory and speed are compatible with those of an asteroid intercepted by the Earth's gravity.

Now the search for any fragments that may have reached the ground intact begins : according to Prisma's calculations, the area to keep an eye on is that of the municipalities of Sospiro, San Daniele Po and Pieve d'Olmi, to the south-east of Cremona.

The " Sardinian " meteor, on the other hand, crossed the atmosphere too quickly and died out at too high an altitude to have given rise to the fall of meteorites.