On the evening of August 27, residents across south Wales and west England witnessed a streaking fireball accompanied by the sound of an explosion. Most reports are now attributing those events to a meteor.
“There was an enormous boom – it sounded like a bomb going off,” said witness Steve Edwards according to the Telegraph. “The force of it shook the windows in my house, woke up my children and caused car alarms to start going off in the streets. I’m just glad none of it landed on my roof.”
Nathan Jones of St Athan saw the meteor’s trail: “I’ve never seen something so amazing in my life,” he said. “It had a heat trail behind, It was orange and white and very bright, and also seemed very close.
Astronomers tracked the meteor travelling from north west to south west Wales. Reports of the size of the space object are varied, ranging from the size of a golfball up to 3-5m in diameter. It is not yet known whether any portion of the object reached the surface intact. Such a remnant would be of interest to scientists, who rarely have an opportunity to study fallen meteorites that have not been contaminated by Earth’s biosphere. The sound heard by many was a sonic boom as the meteor accelerated through the lower atmosphere before exploding.
Former Welsh legislator Lembit Opik, a long-time campaigner for better tracking of near Earth objects, was quick to point out that not all space objects explode harmlessly in a show of late night fireworks. ”People don’t need to be worried about his particular object. If you know about it, then it didn’t kill you,” said Optik. “This should be regarded as an amber warning for the human race. If we refuse to invest in tracking these objects, they will find us.”