Giant Green 'Fireball' Meteor Stuns UK on New Year's Eve

Tuesday, 02 January 2018 - 10:35AM

Fireworks weren't the only things streaking across the sky on the last night of 2017. In the UK, hundreds reported seeing a blindingly bright green light moving through the evening sky on December 31 around 5:30 local time. 

Was it an alien spacecraft stopping by Buckingham Palace to wish the Queen a Happy New Year before heading back home, or is there a more scientific explanation? 

"We just saw a very large meteor as we walked down Golf Drive. It had a very large trail and changed colour as it burnt up in the atmosphere," one witness told The Coventry Telegraph

Witnesses who saw the fireball say that it was very bright and that it changed colors from white, to yellow, and finally to green as it passed overhead and eventually disappeared, according to SBS News. The International Meteor Organisation (IMO) reports that the object was in fact a "very large" meteor traveling east to west from the North Sea across northern England.

The meteor, given the designation number 5538-2017, was visible as far north as Port Elphinstone, Scotland, and as far south as Isle of Wight, based on civilian reports mapped by IMO.
Some witnesses say that they saw 5538-2017 break up before its light went out in the sky. The meteor now has the distinction of being the last of its kind reported by the IMO in 2017.

The bizarre green meteor might seem like a rare a occurrance, but not only is this not the first time we've seen a green fireball streak through the night sky, this won't be your last chance to catch such an astounding phenomenon: The qudrantid meteor shower, the first of 2018, peaks over the night January 3 and into the morning of January 4.