Asteroid explodes over English Channel after hurtling towards Earth

An asteroid exploded over the English Channel in the early hours of Monday after entering Earth‘s atmosphere.

The incident, which was visible in south England, Wales, and northern France, saw the small asteroid – called the Sar2667 – create a shooting star and an explosion in the air, known as an airburst.

The rare event was captured by many on film who had stayed up to see the shooting star after it had been forecast.

Amateur astrophotographer Tom Williams tweeted his excitement. “Object size is around 1 metre and should appear as bright as the Moon momentarily as it enters the atmosphere,” he wrote.

One of his followers on Twitter responded, calling it an “unforgettable moment”.

“It lit up the sky and disintegrated in a bright shade of green before dipping under the treeline… I could see it breaking up as it dove,” he tweeted.

American physicist and airburst specialist Mark Boslough said it was only the seventh time in history that an airburst had been discovered in advance.

“Airbursts of this size happen somewhere several times per year… [but they are] rarely discovered in advance,” he told Wales Online.

The sighting follows the sixth predicted asteroid to enter the Earth’s atmosphere which was seen in the sky above Ontario, Canada last November.

The European Space Agency tweeted that it was “a sign of the rapid advancements in global asteroid detection capabilities!”

The agency had earlier said that the asteroid was expected to “safely strike” the earth’s atmosphere near Rouen in France.

In addition, the Belgium-based International Meteor Organisation predicted it would enter around 4.5m from the French coast and would create a “fireball” effect.

The European Space Agency also remarked that the object hit the Earth’s atmosphere at the ten-year anniversary of the Chelyabinsk explosion over Russia – which created a shockwave that broke windows in several cities on February 15, 2013.

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