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Massive Fireball Speeding Across Sky Stuns Skywatchers [VIDEO]

Apr 15, 2013 12:15 PM EDT
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A blazing fireball - apparently a fragment from a comet - stunned skywatchers during weekend as it burned up in the night sky over Spain.

According to the Russia Today network, The Spanish Institution for the Study of Meteors and Meteorites, which tracked the fireball, classified the object as a piece of a comet that was flying by Earth. The fireball burst across the sky as it entered Earth's atmosphere around 11:45 p.m. Saturday.

"The collision [with the atmosphere] was so violent that the fragment burst into flames creating a fireball at an altitude of about 100km," said Professor José Marie Madiedo, from the University of Huelva, according to a report by Spanish news site The Local.

The great ball of fire reportedly sped across the sky at 75,000 kilometers per hour (46,603 mph) before burning out over the Serranillos Valley.

"It was like an explosion with everything turning white for a few seconds, like it was broad daylight," said astronomer Ana Leonor Hernandez from the Astronomical Centre of Hita, near Toledo.

The object struck the atmosphere above the Villamuelas district in the province of Toledo, southwest of Madrid.

Witnesses on the ground reported several flashed of blue and green until the fireball faded into a last great flash. Russia Today reported the explosion sparked by the meteor as it entered the atmosphere was comparable to the power of a nuclear bomb.

The video below was taken by a camera at the Hita Observatory at the University of Huelva.

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