Footage from the International Space Station captures 'fireball' falling to Earth 1 year ago

Footage from the International Space Station captures 'fireball' falling to Earth

Blink and you’ll miss it.

Footage recorded from the International Space Station spotted a fireball falling to Earth over the Atlantic Ocean off the west coast of South Africa earlier this month.

The footage, a timelapse of photos captured by astronaut Paolo Nespoli, was released by the European Space Agency (ESA) on Thursday and shows what’s been described as a “bright meteor or a fireball” with an estimated speed of around 40km per second falling to Earth.

Look closely and you’ll spot a bright flash in the upper right corner of the screen about seven seconds into the video below, but we should warn you, it is only a very fleeting glimpse.

Clip via European Space Agency, ESA via Storyful

The images were captured while the Space Station was flying from the southern Atlantic Ocean over to Kazakhstan and though it could be a re-entering piece of space debris, Detlef Koschny of the ESA reckons it is more likely that it is a fireball.

“It’s brighter than all the stars seen in the background; only at the very end of the video before sunrise do we see something of similar brightness – I guess Venus,” Koschny said.

“So, if it is a meteor then it could be a decimeter-sized object.”

“We call bright meteors (brighter than Venus), a fireball. I guess this would qualify as a fireball,” he added.