Monday, June 17, 2024

Spectacular fireball lights up sky bright blue for millions over parts of Europe

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A spectacular meteor jetted through the skies over Portugal and Spain Saturday night, dazzling millions of people with a blue-green fireball that lit up the night sky.

The celestial object was seen streaking across the atmosphere, illuminating the clouds with a bright neon blue color for about 7 seconds.

The European Space Agency said the meteor appeared to be a chunk of a comet that broke off and skipped across Earth’s atmosphere about 35 miles high.

It was traveling at a striking 1,700 mph.

Authorities received reports of an object falling from the sky in Viseu, but couldn’t locate a possible crash site or determine whether any of the meteor hit the ground, according to Portuguese newspaper Publico.


The suspected meteor streamed through the skies over Portugal and Spain Saturday night. X/@UHN_Plus

Viseu is located in central Portugal — about 200 miles north of the country’s capital Lisbon.

The meteor was likely 8 to 12 inches of diameter, astronomer Josep María Trigo told Spain’s El Pais newspaper.

Portugal’s Civil Protection Agency posted online about a “meteorite fall” in the Castro Daire area, but the outlet reported that the statement was later retracted.

The ESA said it was unlikely that any pieces of the meteor would make it to Earth.

One video, seemingly recorded from a driver’s dash-cam and shared on X, showed a clear view of the blazing blue light streaking across the sky.

Another clip shows a woman walking with her camera pointing toward the sky when the sky around her brightens in the blue tint, causing her to stop in her path.

A third video captured a crowd with a clear view of the suspected meteor in complete disbelief as a streak of blue flies over their heads.


The fireball was seen streaking across the atmosphere, illuminating the overcast clouds in the night sky with a bright neon blue color for about 7 seconds.
The fireball was seen streaking across the atmosphere, illuminating the overcast clouds in the night sky with a bright neon blue color for about 7 seconds. X/@UHN_Plus

If a meteoroid enters Earth’s atmosphere “or that of another planet, like Mars,” it builds up a significant amount of speed and begins to burn up, appearing as a fireball, according to NASA.

Meteorites are fragments of space rocks traveling around the universe and can sometimes pass through the Earth’s atmosphere and hit the planet’s surface

Most meteorites originate from asteroids, which are rocky bodies in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, while others can come from comets.

The ESA said the object seen over spain was likely a comet fragment.

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