Last night, the skies above Sheffield and the rest of the UK were lit up by a meteorite passing by.
The UK Meteor Network described the meteor as a ‘fireball’ because of its bright appearance. The rare sighting surprised locals and is one of only a handful that can be seen over the UK each year.
A Sheffield community Facebook user said “I think I just saw the biggest shooting star falling over Sheffield. Questioning my sanity at how big it was..”
The UK Fireball Alliance has since calculated a potential landing sight for any material that survived the entry into the Earth’s atmosphere near Gloucester.
Dr Sarah McMullan of the UK Fireball Alliance said: “About twenty meteorites probably land each year (in the UK). Most are barely the size of a sugar cube, however two or three are bigger, and that’s probably the case with this one”.
The UK Meteor Network’s Twitter account said: “The reports are flooding in, 120 so far and counting”.
Pictures and footage of the fireball were captured all across the UK.
— UK Meteor Network (@UKMeteorNetwork) February 28, 2021
Dr Ashley King of the Natural History Museum and UKFAll said “It’s speed was around 30,000 miles per hour which is too fast to be human-made ‘space-junk’. This particular piece of asteroid spent most of its orbit between Mars and Jupiter”
A meteoroid is a small formation of rocky material from outer space. When this enters the Earth’s atmosphere it begins to burn up often creating a bright fire ball called a meteor.