Animated graphic illustrates impact of meteorites on Earth

Claudine Zap

Meteroites-–debris from space that falls to Earth, usually in a fiery blaze-–are few and far between. And they’re especially rare to witness.

But over the millennia, they add up.

A cool animated visualization by Carlo Zapponi called Bolides tracks the meteorites that have collided with Earth, focusing on ones that were seen falling and then hitting the ground.

Zapponi points out on the Bolides site that as of 2013, only 1,046 meteorites were seen, but 34,842 have actually been found around the globe.

According to Zapponi, while they fall everywhere, those that were seen tend to be in areas with large populations, such as Europe, Japan and northern India.

"The word "bolide" comes from Greek "βολίς bolis," which means missile,” Zapponi explains on the site. “Astronomers tend to use bolide to identify an exceptionally bright fireball, particularly one that explodes.”

The data of meteorites had conveniently been compiled by

When you click on the Bolides image, you can find out more details on each meteor on the timeline, which dates back to the year 861 A.D. and goes right through 2013.

“The reason why I designed it is that I stumbled upon the dataset provided by from the Meteoritical Society and I was excited by the amount and quality of the information,” Zapponi wrote to Yahoo News in an email.

“So I first explored the data and the idea of visualizing it just came naturally,” he added.