UK meteor: ‘huge flash’ as fireball lights up skies

A large meteor blazed across UK skies on Sunday night, delighting those lucky enough to spot it.

The meteor was spotted shortly before 10pm and was visible for around seven seconds. It was captured on doorbell and security cameras in Manchester, Cardiff, Honiton, Bath, Midsomer Norton and Milton Keynes.

The UK meteor network, a group of amateur astronomers that has been using cameras to record meteor sightings across the UK since 2012, said the meteor was a fireball, and wrote on Twitter, “From the two videos we saw it was a slow moving meteor with clearly visible fragmentation.”

Meteors are space matter burning up as they enter the earth’s atmosphere. Fireballs are particularly bright meteors that in theory might be visible in daylight. According to the American Meteor Society (AMS), fireballs are generally a magnitude -4, as bright as the planet Venus when seen in the evening or morning. A full moon is magnitude -12.6 while the sun is -26.7.

The AMS said that while “several thousand meteors of fireball magnitude occur in the Earth’s atmosphere each day”, most fall over the ocean or uninhabited areas.

The UK meteor network group said more than 120 people had reported seeing Sunday night’s meteor.

One Twitter user wrote of the fireball: “I first thought it was a bright star or plane, then it got bigger & faster, then a huge flash lit up the sky & it burst into a massive tail of orange sparks trailing behind like a giant firework!”

Also on Twitter, there were alien jokes, with references to Superman, The Day of the Triffids, Men in Black and War of the Worlds.

Others joked that it was revenge for Nasa’s Perseverance rover landing on Mars last week. The rover shared images and the first ever recording of what it sounds like on the red planet.

One user offered to prepare any arriving aliens a full english breakfast.

The Guardian

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