JAN 01, 2018 4:40 PM PST

What Was That in the Sky? U.K. Residents Spy a Surprise Green Flash

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Residents based in the United Kingdom got to see quite the show on Sunday after a bright green flash overtook the entire sky above their heads (and no, it wasn’t a firework).

It's that time of year again, and the Quadrantids are at it again.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Many captured the anomalous event with dash-oriented cameras and smartphones before taking to the internet to describe the experience as some kind of UFO. On the other hand, it was nothing more than a meteor from the annual Quadrantid meteor shower.

Related: Is the Taurid Meteor Shower hiding killer asteroids?

Just in case you were curious about what the event looked like, the following footage provides an adequate representation:

Meteor streaks just like this one happen all over the world at random. They glow this way because they enter the Earth’s dense atmosphere at high rates of speed and meet excess resistance. All this resistance produces friction, which ignites the space rock and induces the glowing fireball you witnessed in the video footage.

While meteors just like this one are harmless most of the time, they can impose significant damage and safety risks under particular circumstances as they hurtle through the sky at these high speeds.

One such example is the event that took place in Chelyabinsk, Russia back in 2013. As the giant space rock swooped through the sky, it met so much resistance that it exploded in mid-air. The catastrophic boom that ensued shattered numerous windows and injured countless people.

Related: Could you hear a meteor if it was flying right past you?

Fortunately, the meteor in the skies above the U.K. this past weekend didn’t cause any damage in its wake like the one in Chelyabinsk did just a few years ago, but it serves as an important reminder that these space rocks will only continue visiting Earth as time goes on.

Source: Newsweek, YouTube

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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