Stargazers in the U.K. were treated to a jaw-dropping meteor shower on the evening of January 9.
During a clear night in many parts of the U.K., many managed to capture a glimpse of the falling meteor, with footage recorded on doorbell and security cameras.
The U.K.’s national meteorological service for the Met Office confirmed that a meteor had been spotted after people took to social media to share what they had seen.
On Twitter on Monday night, @ASobester said: “Just saw the most astonishing meteor/fireball of some sort shoot across the sky. It had multiple discernible colors—blueish white core, bright red outline and streak—unlike anything I’ve ever seen.”
Pictures from a video taken in England on January 9, 2023, were uploaded to the American Meteor Society website. Paul Arthur
“Just saw it in South London!” said @kiera77uk. “Scared the life out of my daughter!! Lol.”
Another lucky viewer, @thischrisjones, said on Twitter: “Never seen anything like that before so bright in the sky and seemed really close.”
“I saw it too,” @Lafashionfolie wrote on Twitter. “Looked bright orange here, dismissed it as a firework initially. Incredible! Feeling so lucky.”
Scientists estimate that about 48.5 tons of meteoritic material falls to Earth each day, with the majority vaporized by the Earth’s atmosphere.
What Is a Meteor?
Space debris can have a range of names, including meteors, meteoroids and meteorites, depending on where it is seen in the sky.
NASA explained that meteoroids are objects in space that range in size from dust grains to small asteroids.
A meteor occurs when a meteoroid enters Earth’s atmosphere and burns up. Sometimes also referred to as a fireball or shooting star, they often capture attention as they vaporize and cause streaks of light across the sky.
Meteorites are when a meteoroid survives a trip through the atmosphere and hits the ground.
Pictures from the doorbell camera of one stargazer who was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a meteor that shot across the sky in England on January 9, 2023. Paul Arthur
What Causes a Meteor Shower?
When multiple meteors are encountered at once, they are referred to as meteor showers.
Meteor showers occur annually and at regular intervals as Earth passes through trails of dusty debris left by a comet. Usually named for a star or constellation close to where the meteors appear, the most famous of these is likely the Perseid meteor shower that is active between July 14 and September 1.
“Looks like the start of War of the Worlds,” Twitter user @streathamdave joked. “The Martians have come.”
Another viewer, @PTAJones, on Twitter wrote: “Saw it just after 8pm in the beautiful clear sky after a row at Portishead. Could see the trail of flames and smoke barreling out the back. Sublime.”