126 visual reports from 5 countries

The IMO received over 126 reports so far about a fireball event that occurred over The Netherlands on September 22th, 2020 around 03:53 Universal Time. The IMO event #2020-5282 was mainly seen from the Netherlands but we also received reports from UK, Germany, Denmark and Belgium.

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AMS Event #980-5282 – Witness location and estimated ground trajectory

The majority of the eyewitnesses reported a very long bright and slow meteor. And it was pretty slow indeed…

Based on Denis Vida, postdoctoral associate at the University of Western Ontario and member of the Global Meteor Network team, the meteoroid entered the atmosphere at 34.1 km/s, reached the lowest altitude of ~91 km – far below any orbiting satellites and far below the ISS – and bounced back into space.

Video shared by Kees H. from Kattendijke, Zeeland (NL) – IMO report #2020-5282dk

Earth-grazer from where?

Many meteoroids disintegrate in our atmosphere, or slow down and crash into the soil to become meteorites. But after its light show, this one kept going, departing our planet with a celestial “thanks, but no thanks.” An Earth-grazing meteor is a rarely measured kind of meteor caused by a meteoroid that collides with the Earth but survives the collision by passing through, and exiting, the atmosphere. Below is a graph shared by Marco Langbroek from the Leiden University. This graphs represents the altitude of the meteor versus the geographic longitude of its position.

Earth-grazing fireball altitude versus geographic longitude by Marco Langbroek

At least two teams computed the orbital elements of the meteoroid.
Below are Marco Langbroek’s provisional results:

q 0.2978 AU a 2.5616 AU
e 0.8838 i 3.470 deg
argper 240.053° node 359.3291°
pi 240.053° node 239.38°
Q 4.83 AU period 4.1 year
Tisserand 2.687 Perihelion date 2020-8-12.49705873

Provisional radiant:

RAobs 163.8 DECobs +6.3 V ini 34.1 km/s
RAgeo 165.9 DECgeo +3.4 Vgeo 31.9 km/s
Heliocentric orbit of the meteoroid based on Marco Langbroek’s provisional results
Path of the meteoroid based on Marco Langbroek’s provisional results

Below are Denis Vida’s provisional results shared on Twitter:

a 2.56 AU q 0.29 AU
e 0.88 i 2.93
w 239.67 O 359.31

Denis Vida stated that the meteoroid had a Jupiter-family orbit but Parent body search found no conclusive hits.

Heliocentric orbit of the meteoroid based on Denis Vida’s results
Path of the meteoroid based on Denis Vida’s results



  • It was a slow fireball, lasted approximately 4 or 5 seconds and was completely without noise and had a broad swipe-track.
    I am an amateur astronomer and have seen many meteoroïdes in my life( 71 years old) but something like this I never saw before.At first I really thought it was an UFO!

    Reply to Herbert Cotterell
  • I forgot to tell that I saw it from my homegarden in Breda, Holland,51.30 degree north latitude and 05 degree east longitude , in northhern direction and a height of ( estimated) 55 degree .
    Herbert Cotterell

    Reply to Herbert Cotterell

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