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U.K. 'Fireball' May Have Been Piece of Halley's Comet [VIDEO]

May 09, 2013 11:18 AM EDT
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A green-tinged meteor that shot across the sky in Britain Wednesday night could have been debris from Halley's Comet, according to a U.K. scientist.

The abnormally-sized "fireball" shot across the sky around 9:45 p.m. local time Wednesday and was visible across a swath of land in the U.K.

"It seems that this one was particularly large and particularly bright, which is why it's caught so much attention," said space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock, according to The Independent, citing the BBC.

Aderin-Pocock said the shooting star would have traveled as fast as 150,000 mph.

"It's quite likely to be part of the Eta Aquarids, which is the debris left by Halley's Comet. And twice a year we pass through the debris left behind by the comet and when this happens we see more of these shooting stars, but there must have been a large lump left behind which is what caused such a bright meteor to be seen."

Aderin-Pocock said a notable thing about the shooting star was its size.

"What was unusual about the thing last night is that usually shooting stars are quite small," she said. "This was quite a large lump passing through the atmosphere so it made quite a large shooting star."

However another scientist rejects the idea that the meteor was part of Halley's Comet, even though meteor debris from the comet can be seen during this time of year.

According to the BBC, professor Alan Fitzsimmons, an astronomer at Queen's University Belfast Astrophysics Research Center, said the light was probably a "random fireball".

 "When we see meteors coming from Halley's Comet, they come from a particular point in the sky - only above the horizon. Therefore we only see them in the very early hours of the morning, in the hours before dawn," Fitzsimmons said.

"It was probably a random fireball - a small piece of rock from an asteroid belt."

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