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Dazzling fireball meteor lights up sky over Europe

An unusually bright meteor known as a fireball was spotted over Europe on Saturday, with more than a hundred reports of the colorful shooting star over parts of the United Kingdom and France. 

A video recorded at 2:07 a.m. in Birmingham, England, showed a flash of blue light as a bright meteor screamed across the night sky. 

According to the International Meteor Organization (IMO), more than 100 reports of a fireball came in Saturday around the same time from areas across England, Scotland, Wales and France. 

More than a dozen videos shared with IMO captured the flash in the sky. Witnesses described the meteor as “beautiful and bright” and some witnesses noted it had a green color. The color changes can be caused by the different metals found in metallic meteors burning up as they interact with Earth’s atmosphere.

One meteor spotter said the flash of light was so bright it was as if it was “daytime,” according to the IMO witness report. 

“I have been looking at the night sky for many years hoping to see something like this, what a sight to behold,” another witness near London wrote.

According to NASA, a fireball is an “unusually bright meteor” that reaches a visual magnitude of 3 or brighter by the observer.

Fireball events can exceed one meter in size, and fireballs that explode in the atmosphere are called bolides.


A video recorded at 2:07 a.m. in Birmingham, England, showed a flash of blue light as a bright meteor screamed across the night sky. 
A video recorded at 2:07 a.m. in Birmingham, England, showed a flash of blue light as a bright meteor screamed across the night sky.  X/@JohnStew82 via REUTERS

One meteor spotter said the flash of light was so bright it was as if it was "daytime," according to the IMO witness report. 
One meteor spotter said the flash of light was so bright it was as if it was “daytime,” according to the IMO witness report.  Matt Cooper via Storyful

The Quadrantids meteor shower is ongoing, with peak activity on Jan. 4.

According to the American Meteor Society, the Quadrantids have the potential to be the strongest meteor shower of the year, but poor weather usually thwarts viewing. 

Other annual meteor showers have one or two-day peak activity, but the Quadrantids’ peak happens over a few hours with up to 120 meteors per hour, according to NASA.

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Written by SaleemBaloch

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