Hundreds of sightings of a meteor were reported across England last night, with some describing it as a “bright blue-green” fireball in the sky.
UK Meteor Observation Network (UKMON) confirmed to Sky News that there was a meteor fireball event at around 9.44pm on 16 May.
The network of amateur astronomers confirmed they received over 700 public reports of the event.
UK Fireball Alliance also confirmed the reports on Twitter, adding they received almost 100 reports but said its cameras did not capture the sightings.
Dr Ashley King from the UK Fireball Alliance said: “A bright fireball was widely seen and recorded over the UK last night at 21.44 (BST).
“It was travelling from south to north over Dorset/Somerset area and lasted approximately 6 seconds.
“It was most likely caused by a rock from the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter entering the Earth’s atmosphere but ‘went dark’ at an altitude of approximately 40 km, so we don’t expect any meteorites on the ground.”
There were also reports of the sightings in London, Birmingham, Cambridgeshire, West Berkshire and Bedfordshire.
One Twitter user posted footage that was picked up by their doorbell camera.
Another user said: “Saw it here in Manchester, green/white, looking southwest towards the horizon.”
One person described it as “bright blue-green, slowly falling and breaking up”, adding that it was “amazing”.
William Gater, who is an astronomer and author, said that it was “another bolide meteor”, which is an exceptionally bright meteor.
What is a meteor and why do we see them?
According to NASA, a meteor is a space rock, also called a meteoroid, that enters the Earth’s atmosphere.
Meteors are created when a comet gets close to the sun and breaks apart due to the heat.
They are sometimes seen when the Earth is in its orbit around the Sun and passes through debris leftover from the disintegrated comets.
As the space rock falls towards Earth the drag of the air makes it extremely hot, which gives the appearance of a “shooting star”.
The bright streak of light is not the rock itself, but the glowing hot air.
Usually, the meteoroids are very small, sometimes no bigger than a boulder, and burn up in the atmosphere.
Meteor showers occur when several space rocks enter the Earth’s atmosphere at once.
This was the latest in several meteor sightings in England and Wales this year.
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On 12 May, hundreds said on social media that they saw a “bright green” fireball.
It was seen in Southampton, London, Manchester, Birmingham, Devon and Somerset.