A bright fireball was spotted flying over several areas in England. Based on the reports submitted by eyewitnesses, the fiery object was most likely caused by a small asteroid that entered Earth's atmosphere.
Reports from the eyewitnesses were compiled by the American Meteor Society (AMS), which monitors fireball events in different parts of the globe. According to the eyewitnesses, the incident happened at around 8:30 pm BST, which is equivalent to around 3:30 pm EDT.
Fireball Event Over England
The AMS received a total of 12 reports from residents of different parts of England. Based on their submissions, many of the eyewitnesses were from Chillington, Cossington, Protesham and Coleford. The other witnesses were from Wales. The reports indicated that the fireball that appeared in the sky lasted for about two to three seconds. Many eyewitnesses noted that the object appeared to be much brighter and more visible than Venus.
One eyewitness noted that he was waiting to catch a glimpse of SpaceX's Starlink satellites in the sky when the fireball appeared. "Definite meteor," said an eyewitness named Andrew S. in his report. "Only saw for 2 to 3 seconds. Intensity was as bright as Venus but 2 to 3 times apparent width so appeared much brighter. Was waiting for Starlink satellites at time but too far south so noticed meteor fairly early in flight."
Another eyewitness from Brixham, England spotted the fireball and posted about it on Twitter. According to user Alistair King, the fireball appeared near the Moon for about a couple of seconds before it fragmented into bright pieces like a firework.
Classifying Fireball Events
The descriptions provided by Andrew S. and the other eyewitnesses coincide with the definition of the AMS regarding fireballs. As noted by the organization, fireballs are formed when an asteroid enters Earth's atmosphere, which then becomes a meteor. Due to the friction caused by the atmosphere, the meteor can burn up and turn into a fireball. Depending on the size of the meteor, the AMS noted that fireballs could be as bright or even brighter than the planet Venus.
"A fireball is another term for a very bright meteor, generally brighter than magnitude -4, which is about the same magnitude of the planet Venus as seen in the morning or evening sky," the AMS explained. "A bolide is a special type of fireball which explodes in a bright terminal flash at its end, often with visible fragmentation."