Residents of the UK, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Denmark were treated to a huge shooting star when a space rock collided with Earth’s atmosphere last night, September 22. The fireball was so bright it prompted more than 120 people to head to the International Meteor Organisation (IMO) website to report the phenomenon.
Onlookers described the sighting as “beautiful” and unlike “anything I’ve seen before”.
One person, Jason, reported to the IMO: “It had a long blueish tail and then just disappeared whilst I was following it .
“Was like a really bright firework with no noise and was beautiful to see.”
Another person, Daniel, added: “This seemed low in the sky [compared] to anything I’ve seen before.”
The meteor it could be seen in six different countries, including the UK.
Residents of the UK, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Denmark were treated to a huge shooting star
John said: “The brightest shooting star/meteor I have ever seen.”
A person called Michael said: “Never seen something so bright and clear and close that lasted so long.”
Due to how long it stayed in the sky, some people believed the fireball was part of the Starlink constellation – SpaceX’s ambitious yet controversial plan to launch 12,000 satellites into Earth’s orbit, with the aim of supplying internet to every corner of the globe.
However, the IMO confirmed it was a space rock.
The meteor shot straigh across the sky
Dean, a witness of the phenomenon, said: “Although I have no astronomy/observing experience, I’ve never seen anything like that
“It was definitely NOT Starlink as it was too low, it was bright enough to see a bright smoke trail which followed behind it, weird thing was there was no sound.”
Fireballs are created when space rocks hit the atmosphere, with air seeping into the pores, causing it to explode.
The IMO said: “Fireballs are meteors that appear brighter than normal.
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Asteroids, comets and meteors
“Due to the velocity at which they strike the Earth’s atmosphere, fragments larger than one millimetre have the capability to produce a bright flash as they streak through the heavens above.
“These bright meteors are what we call fireballs and they often strike fear and awe for those who witness them.”
Most fireballs burn up in the atmosphere, and very few reach the surface.
The last notable fireball to cause havoc came in 2013, when a 20 metre meteor exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia.
The blast was so powerful that it smashed windows across the city and injured more than 1,000 people.