© File photo
A golf ball-sized meteor caused panic in a Welsh town when it exploded, creating a massive sonic boom.'

Hundreds of people saw the fireball shoot across the night sky before it exploded near their homes in Cwmbran, near Newport, South Wales.

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

Homeowner Steve Edwards, 56, said: 'There was an enormous boom - It sounded like a bomb going off.

'The force of it shook the windows in my house, woke up my children and caused car alarms to start going off in the streets.

'I'm just glad none of it landed on my roof.'

Witness Nathan Jones, 34, who lives in nearby St Athan, said: 'I've never seen something so amazing in my life.

'It had a heat trail behind, it was orange and white and very bright, and also seemed very close.

'It looked like it was skimming through the atmosphere due to the curved path it was taking.'

The meteor was first spotted in the North West and amateur astronomers watched as it sped towards the border of Wales and the South West.

Hannah Sabido, 33, who spotted the meteor from her home in Bristol, said: 'I first noticed it as a very bright glowing light behind cloud, travelling very fast.

'It looked like a bright white ball with a long bright tail and possibly a green hue. It was brighter than the moon.

'It became more orange towards the North East, giving off orange sparks before bursting out.'

Astrophysician Dr David Whitehouse 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.

Comment: We're not quite sure what an 'astrophysician' is, but there's no way this thing was only "golf-ball sized".

'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 seen for a couple of hundred miles all across the country.

'Scientists will now be very keen to know if it's survived so they can try and collect it and examine it.

'As for the rest of us we don't have anything to fear from a meteor or this size, there's no records of anyone having been killed by such a thing.

'It's very, very unlikely to strike a person, much less likely than being struck by lightning.

'Very rarely something large will come into contact with the earth, like the one which helped the dinosaurs on it's way - that was the size of Britain.

'But this meteor is a wonder of nature, something in the night sky to be admired and enjoyed.'

Police in Wales confirmed they had dozens of reports of the meteor lighting up the night sky.