Moment stunning ‘fireball’ meteor blazes across UK skies ‘like a giant firework’

Stargazers across the UK were treated to a stunning celestial show on Sunday night when a huge fireball meteor exploded across the skies.

The massive space object was described as lighting up “like a giant firework” just before 10pm.

Some watchers even reported hearing a “sonic boom” as the meteor entered the Earth’s atmosphere.

Amateur astronomers watched as the burning ball of space rock flared up before drifting slowly to the ground with what appear to be parts of debris breaking off.

Hundreds shared videos and pictures of the event, with the UK Meteor Network receiving 120 reports of sightings from London, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Birmingham, Bath, Liverpool and Devon and Cornwall.

The network has described it as a “slow moving meteor with clearly visible fragmentation”.

Footage was even captured by doorbell cameras showing the moment the flaming meteor zooms past.

In the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire one woman said: “Scared all the pheasants out of the forest but a few moments before hand my partner said that were a strange light outside.”

Meanwhile Thomas Page in Bristol tweeted: “Did anyone just hear a dull boom? Almost like a sonic boom?”

In Somerset Wayne Hand said he’d seen a “massive meteoroid over Chilcompton” as he was putting the bins out “and it lit up the sky”.

Another Twitter user wrote: “Anyone else see the #meteor burn up over the UK just before 10pm tonight? I first thought it was a bright star or plane, then it got bigger & faster, then a huge flash lit up the sky & it burst into a massive tail of orange sparks trailing behind like a giant firework! So cool!”

The UK Meteor Network says that the fireballs are often brighter than normal meteors and have a magnitude of -4 – similar to the planet Venus.

By comparison, the moon is -12.6 and the sun is -26.7, meaning the brighter the object, the lower the number.

Although meteors fall over the planet every day, the vast majority plummet into the sea, or into uninhabited land.

The Gamma Normid meteor shower is usually visible in March with its peak expected in the middle of the month.