Earlier this month, a huge fireball burst into the Earth’s atmosphere. Witnesses said they heard “deep exploding sounds” and “long rumbling sounds like thunder or a motor“ as the meteor hit the atmosphere.
Videos from CCTV cameras showed the meteor booming in the night sky, producing a bright blast as it did so.
When meteors produce such an intense burst of light, they are called a bolide in astronomical terms.
This bolide hit Earth on November 7, and astronomers have said it was travelling at a staggering 61,000 kilometres per hour when it hit Earth.
At that speed, it could easily circle Earth twice in less than an hour.
Analysis from the Norsk Meteornettverk said it “entered the Earth atmosphere at a 17.4 km/s speed and a 70.4° inclination.”
According to the analysis, the meteor entered the atmosphere 100 kilometres west of Stockholm, Sweden.
However, so bright was the fireball that it could also be seen in Denmark and Norway.
The International Meteor Organisation (IMO) said: “On November 7, 2020, around 21h 27min UT, a very bright fireball was observed and caught on camera over Scandinavia.
The IMO said: “Fireballs are meteors that appear brighter than normal.
“Due to the velocity at which they strike the Earth’s atmosphere, fragments larger than one millimetre have the capability to produce a bright flash as they streak through the heavens above.
“These bright meteors are what we call fireballs and they often strike fear and awe for those who witness them.”
Perhaps the most famous fireball in modern history came when a meteor struck over Chelyabinsk in 2013.
The explosion, caused by a 20-metre meteor, was so powerful it smashed windows across the city and injured more than 1,000 people.