A bright object seen streaking over the night sky in Paphos over the weekend drew dozens of comments on social media, with the country’s space club looking at the fireball as an opportunity to get folks excited about space but also authorities to be better prepared ahead of increased solar activity.
Dozens of people shared a video that was posted on a weather blog on Sunday, after the short black-and-white clip showed a bright light streaking across the sky and slowly dissipating about an hour after midnight.
Social media users commented on the video, offering their explanations of what it meant, with some volunteering scenarios including an attack on a village or Russian S300 missiles being fired out of Crete.
But the Cyprus Space Exportation Organization cited with the majority of the comments, which pointed to a meteorite, saying it was a very frequent phenomenon.
“Believe it or not, tons of meteorites fall to earth daily day and night but they are too small to see,” CSEO president George Danos told Knews on Monday, adding the reason only few videos capture the phenomena was because cameras are not usually pointed towards the sky.
Danos speculated that the bright light seen in the video was “probably not from a meteor shower” but pointed to a different solar phenomenon in the near future that could have a devastating impact on earth.
'It is possible that this maximum might happen during this cycle and it will be a super maximum' Danos said, referring to coronal mass ejections that could damage above ground power lines
The Cypriot space scientist said he has been urging authorities to adopt a preparedness plan in response to concerns over a “solar maximum” expected to peak next year, referring to the number of sunspots that varies between cycles that run approximately eleven years.
“It is possible that this maximum might happen during this cycle and it will be a super maximum,” Danos said, referring to coronal mass ejections that could damage above-ground power lines.
Scientists around the world have been monitoring activity of solar flares with some even warning of a potential catastrophic event over the next decade.
Danos looked to the future, pointing to an EU-funded project on the island to develop an X-Ray instrument capable of dating Martian soil and rock samples much more accurately.
“Stay tuned because the next few months in Cyprus will be hot for science,” he told Knews.
But he also alluded to the past, when in 1859 an intense geomagnetic storm known as the Carrington Event caused sparking and fires in multiple telegraph stations across the globe.
Countries especially in the northern hemisphere are more at risk according to Danos, who said his concerns over the coming period were based on increased solar activity over the last 12 months.