Thursday, June 20, 2024

Blue fireball flashes in night sky as comet fragment soars over Spain and Portugal

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A comet fragment lit up the skies over parts of Spain and Portugal overnight – as one person said witnessing the blue fireball “felt like a movie”.

The European Space Agency (ESA) shared a video on the X social media platform on Sunday which it says was captured by its “fireball camera”.

The agency said the blue light streaking across the sky over the western Spanish city of Caceres was a “stunning meteor” travelling at roughly 28 miles per second.

However, it later said the light was from a “small piece of a comet” and not a meteor.

The comet fragment eventually burned up over the Atlantic Ocean.

“The likelihood of any meteorites being found is very low,” the ESA said.

Videos filmed from several cities in Spain and Portugal were circulating on social media.

They showed the comet fragment crossing the sky at high speed and illuminating it in bright tones of blue and green.

NASA has said magnesium creates a blue-green colour when it burns in meteors.

The Spanish Calar Alto astronomical observatory said a preliminary analysis by Andalusia’s Institute of Astrophysics revealed the object had a “cometary origin”.

CCTV footage released by the mayor’s office in the city of Cadiz in southwestern Spain shows the fireball crossing the sky at 12.46am local time (11:46pm UK time).

Read more from Sky News:
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The fragment was filmed streaking across the sky as a singer performed at a concert in the Portuguese city of Barcelos.

Another video showed the skies of Porto, Portugal’s second-biggest city, turning bright for a few seconds.

Many contacted emergency services to report what happened.

A spokesperson for the Spanish Emergency service 112 in Madrid told Europa Press news agency it had received several calls.

Lisbon resident Bernardo Taborda, 31, told Reuters he was walking around the city with friends when the sky suddenly turned bright green: “It almost looked like daylight… we all looked back and saw it.”

He added: “It felt like a movie, we all looked at each other and we were stunned.

“It was amazing.”

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