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Panic grips people as they spot fireballs lighting up Kerala sky

February28/ 2015

Kochi: Many residents in Kerala have reported seeing fireballs in the sky  on Friday, 27 February. The fireballs were seen after 10 pm and in many places, mild tremors and thunder sounds accompanying the fire balls escalated apprehensions among the people.

While the phenomenon was first noticed in Ernakulam district, people from various parts of the state also reported seeing the phenomenon. Minister Adoor Prakash said that there was nothing to be concerned. Earthquake monitoring devices in six districts have not recorded anything unusual, said Ernakulam Collector M G Rajamanikyam. Other agencies such as ISRO and monitoring units of the Navy have also reported nothing unusual.

Most of the unofficial pictures that are doing the rounds are copies from websites and social media saw imaginations running riot with users even commenting that the sky was falling down in pieces. Many of these pictures were padded with background shots of Kochi to make them look authentic.

People in Kolenchery and Paravur have reported that they have seen some objects falling out of the sky while people across Kottayam and Kozhikode also reported the night sight. According to descriptions, it is believed that the fireballs could have been disintegrating meteors, said Dr K.Mohan Kumar, Professor at the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, CUSAT.

Dr Rajagopal Kammath, a scientist, suggested that there could be three explanations for the fire balls:

1.China’s Norad 4063 is believed to have re-entered into earth’s atmosphere and since February 23, the disintegrating pieces of the satellite has been lighting up the night sky in many parts of the world. This is the most possible reason. A satellite had fallen in Siberia recently and remnants of that satellite could have caused the streaks.

2.The fireball could be a phenomenon called ball lightening.

3.There is a possibility that the streaks could have been part of a meteor storm, Gamma Normids. Scientists had predicted the event from February 23 to 27.

The sound that people heard was due to sonic boom.

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