Boy's picture of fireball interests Nasa scientists

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The Independent Online

A Welsh schoolboy who took a picture of a fireball streaking through the sky has captured the attention of the international scientific community.

Jonathan Burnett, 15, was using his digital camera to snap his friends skateboarding when a friend pointed to a fiery object in the sky. Jonathan snapped a picture of the object.

Jonathan, from Pencoed, Bridgend, e-mailed the image to Nasa in the hope of discovering what it was. The agency replied, saying the photo was one of the "more spectacular sky images ever recorded" and would be published on the Nasa website.

Jonathan's father, Paul Burnett, said: "The interest from the public and the media around the world has been immense. There has been speculation that it is a meteor but the scientists don't seem to know what it is."

The object may be a bolide fireball, a phenomenon created when the friction on a meteor entering the atmosphere causes it to glow red and sometimes explode. However, Nasa also speculates that it may be an illusion created by aeroplane vapour trail reflecting the setting sun.

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