Astronomers have caught the moment a meteorite turned into a fireball as powerful as a nuclear explosion just 21 miles above the Earth and headed over the UK.
The blast was so visible that the Irish Coast Guard contacted Astronomy Ireland as they were receiving so many reports of possible distress flares
Footage of the “car-sized” meteorite burning up in the atmosphere was so good because it was destroyed much lower than the usual 50 to 70 miles up.
Experts believe it broke off an asteroid in orbit between Mars and Jupiter and headed towards earth at 100,000mph.
Fragments of the rock which made it to Earth are worth ten times the price of gold.
The video was recorded by the United Kingdom Meteor Observing Network at Portadown on Sunday at around 10.10pm.
David Moore from Astronomy Ireland said: “This event was so bright that a piece or pieces may have survived the re-entry and landed as extremely rare and valuable meteorites.”
Amateur enthusiasts hoping for a quick buck by finding a piece may be out of luck though as they suspect from the trajectory it travelled any pieces would now be at the bottom of the Irish sea.
The clip, uploaded to YouTube by the UK Meteor Observation Network, shows the massive dash of light fly across the sky at Portadown and Lurgan.
At around 10:10pm on Sunday night the huge ‘fireball’ was seen right across the country, lighting up all of the whole island like daylight for about five seconds.
David Moore said: “This event was so bright that a piece or pieces may have survived the re-entry and landed as extremely rare and valuable meteorites.
“We are appealing to everyone who saw the fireball to fill in to online report form on Astronomy Ireland’s website ‘astronomy.ie’ as soon as possible while the details are fresh in their minds.
“In return we will send everyone our analysis of all the reports and where we think any meteorite may have landed.”