For a few seconds tonight, the sky in south London lit up - all from a peanut-sized object hitting the atmosphere.

It was a meteor.

Members of the London chapter of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada confirmed what many others saw just after the supper hour.

A bright light that began as orange, then turning white sailed from the northwest towards the southeast.

One observer believed the light trailed over the sky for as long as five seconds.

Dave McCarter, the chapter president simply wished he had seen it.

"They're fairly frequent," he said. "If you're out looking up the likelihood, you're going to see some of these nice meteors.

McCarter said frequently they're seen early in the evening.

And what sailed over the city, he said, was likely no bigger than a peanut but hit the atmosphere at 15 to 20 kilometres per second.

"That causes the atmosphere to get real bright, real fast for a few seconds," he said.

When the meteor crashes into the atmosphere, it ionizes the air, he said. And "it's the air that's giving off all that light."