Nearly 600 reports from France, Switzerland and Italy
The International Meteor Organization (IMO) has received nearly 600 reports of a fireball moving in a northwestern direction over the Gulf of Lion, between the French cities of Montpellier and Marseille. This event occurred near 20:26 Universal Time (22:26 CEST) on 24 April 2021. This object was not only seen from France, witnesses from Italy and Switzerland have also contributed reports.
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Interested readers may access the event page for this fireball. The event page lists all witness reports received for this fireball and comments from those whose wish to expand and share their experience. A map, showing the location of each witness, plus our computer generated trajectory is also included. Videos and photographs are also available on the event page.
FRIPON/Vigie-Ciel webpage on the event (with pictures and videos, in French)
Several thousand meteors of fireball magnitude occur in the Earth’s atmosphere each day. The vast majority of these, however, occur over the oceans and uninhabited regions, and a good many are masked by daylight. Those that occur at night also stand little chance of being detected due to the relatively low numbers of persons out to notice them.
Additionally, the brighter the fireball, the more rare is the event. As a general thumb rule, there are only about 1/3 as many fireballs present for each successively brighter magnitude class, following an exponential decrease. Experienced observers can expect to see only about 1 fireball of magnitude -6 or better for every 200 hours of meteor observing, while a fireball of magnitude -4 can be expected about once every 20 hours or so.