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A mystery 'fireball' spotted in the skies above Manchester on Monday night was a meteor, experts have said.

The bright object was seen to shoot across the atmosphere before disappearing just seconds later behind the clouds.

Hundreds of people witnessed the phenomenon at around 11.10pm on Monday night. Experts have now confirmed it was a golf ball sized meteor, which exploded above South Wales and caused a sonic boom, shaking windows and setting off car alarms.

The rare sight caused alarm on Twitter with Manchester residents tweeting their amazement at the incident.

Damien Sawyer wrote that it appeared to be a 'huge bright light streaking past the moon' and asked GMP if any other sightings had been reported.

The 26-year-old, who works as a resource analyst for the Co-operative Bank, spotted it from the bedroom window of his home in Gee Cross, Hyde.

He told the MEN: "I noticed it out of our bedroom window. My partner Leanne Vaughan was getting ready for bed when I saw something shooting across the sky.

"It was only there for about two or three seconds. It looked like the clouds had lit up and a split second later it seemed to break through the cloud cover.

"The object was like a bright blue ball with a long orange trail behind it. I got up this morning and wondered if I'd gone mad so I was glad to see it was a meteor."

A spokesman for GMP said they had not received any calls or reports of meteor sightings and an airport source said they were not aware of anything.

But police and coastguards in South Wales had dozens of reports of a bright flash in the sky followed by a loud bang.

It is thought that the meteor travelled across the north west skies before speeding towards Wales and eventually exploding above Cwmbran, near Newport.

Astrophysician Dr David Whitehouse told the Daily Telegraph said: "It was a piece of space rock coming into the earth's atmosphere and burning up as it does.

"It's the size of a golf ball, it's coming in very, very quickly and leaving a bright tail as it vaporizes.

"It's incredibly bright, it burns at an altitude of 60 to a 100 miles above the earth.

"So if one flashes across the UK you can see it all the way along its track even if it it only lasts a couple of seconds.

"It's not unusual for it to be soon for a couple of 100 miles all across the country."

Meteors can come from comet debris, asteroids, planets and moons. They burn at an altitude of between 60 and 100 miles and rarely make any major impact on the ground.

In March, similar excitement was sparked by a meteor in Strathclyde, Scotland, with people in Manchester reporting the sight on Twitter.