A brilliant ball of flame streaked across the sky above the Spanish capital Madrid, dazzling stargazers and astronomers alike. The celestial display was so bright it could be seen across the entire country.
The eye-popping moment was caught on camera by the Hita Observatory at the University of Huelva at around 11:45pm local time (2145 GMT). The object struck the atmosphere above the Villamuelas district in the province of Toledo, southwest of Madrid.
"The impact was so abrupt that the object immediately caught fire, creating a ball of flame around 100 kilometers above the Earth," Jose Maria Madiedo of the University of Huelva told the Huffington Post. The meteor then shot towards Madrid at over 75,000 kilometers an hour before disintegrating completely at an altitude of 70 kilometers.
The Spanish Institution for the Study of Meteors and Meteorites, which tracked the fireball, classified the meteorite as a piece of a comet that was flying by Earth.
Comment: Flying by Earth? It obviously entered the planet's atmosphere. There have been other occasions in recent years where comet fragments have skimmed the upper layers of Earth's atmosphere and either exploded so far up that few below noticed, or have continued to fly on by. But notice that with each new event, they appear to be reaching closer and closer to the ground...