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Sunday, 6 October, 2002, 10:33 GMT 11:33 UK
'Meteor' lights up Midlands
Meteor
The object was seen shortly before 0600 BST
A burning object seen streaking across West Midlands skies on Sunday morning may have been a meteor, astronomers have said.

The streaking fireball was seen heading south shortly before 0600 BST.

Its passage was followed by a bright flash which lit up the sky.

Sightings of the object were reported at sites including Coventry, England's south coast and Wales.

Andy Salmon, from the Birmingham Astronomical Society, said it may have been a meteor - space debris burning up in the atmosphere.

Space junk
A meteor is a particle entering the Earth's atmosphere and burning up at high speed
Many meteors are the size of a sand grain
Larger objects do not burn up completely, hit the ground, and become a 'meteorite'
He also suggested it may have been a man-made object, such a satellite re-entering the atmosphere, or a rocket being launched.

"Meteors can happen at any time... there's no predicting when it may happen," he said.

One witness said the object had a tail.

"All of a sudden I've seen this light streak across the sky... the front of the light was much larger than what you would call the tail," he said.

'Like a film'

The BBC's Ben Godfrey saw the fireball as he arrived at work.

"It was reminiscent of a meteor you might see in a film... it was huge," he said.

Local aviation authorities confirmed the object was not aircraft-related.

It has been an eventful period for the West Midlands in nature terms, with the region shaken by an earth tremor on 23 September.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Ben Godfrey
"It was huge"

Click here to go to BBC Coventry and Warwickshire

Click here to go to BBC Birmingham Online
See also:

27 Aug 02 | England
09 Sep 02 | Science/Nature
13 Aug 02 | Science/Nature
03 Dec 01 | England
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