Meteor smoke over Slovakia
© YouTube/Robert Barsa (screen capture)
The best meteor during this month's Lyrid meteor shower might not have been a Lyrid at all. On April 21st, Robert Barsa was outside the city of Košice, Slovakia, watching meteors fly out of the constellation Lyra when a flash lit up the sky from a completely different direction.

"I saw it in my peripheral vision," says Barsa. "As I looked reflexively above my head, I was speechless staring at a meteor much brighter than Venus."

"The fireball was moving very slowly with at least two outbursts," he says. "It reminded me of a decaying spaceship or satellite entering the atmosphere."

Barsa's video shows the remarkable behaviour of the meteor's debris twisting in rarefied winds more than 60 km above Earth's surface. "The smoky trail lasted for nearly an hour until it finally disappeared," he says. "Obviously, this was not a member of the Lyrids shower, but such bright 'uninvited guests' are always welcome."