Mars striking back? Extremely bright meteor ignites wild banter on social media (VIDEOS)

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Befuddled Brits from Scotland in the North to Somerset in South were astonished by a phenomenally bright flash in the night sky which lasted some seven seconds and ended with a loud boom, according to some reports.

The fireball was so bright it triggered doorbells across the UK shortly before 10pm local time from Manchester to Cardiff, Bath, and Milton Keynes and everywhere in between, with the UK Meteor Network receiving over 120 reports of sightings. 

Social media was flooded with videos purporting to show the celestial fireworks display.

Nice meteor hit the earth’s atmosphere at 21:54 slightly obscured by the house 😔🙄 #fireball#meteorpic.twitter.com/JdFrfxucZV

— Paul Bunyard (@wildaboutimages) February 28, 2021

Was so clear pic.twitter.com/WN47oW0LAi

— Jill Hemingway (@JillHemingway) February 28, 2021 View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Alex Stoneman (@leximan)

“From the two videos we saw it was a slow moving meteor with clearly visible fragmentation,” The UK meteor network said.

Yep we caught it on cameras in Cardiff, Manchester & Honiton #fireballpic.twitter.com/xZVnTsBMQc

— SCAMP – a component of the FRIPON network (@SCAMP_Meteors) February 28, 2021

@UKMeteorNetwork doorbell cam Milton Keynes pic.twitter.com/TQ8lCcYqdO

— Ivor Lafford (@Lafford_MK) February 28, 2021

According to the American Meteor Society (AMS), fireballs are generally as bright as the planet Venus (magnitude -4) when observed in the evening or morning while, for comparison, a full moon is magnitude -12.6 and the sun is -26.7.

“I first thought it was a bright star or plane, then it got bigger & faster, then a huge flash lit up the sky & it burst into a massive tail of orange sparks trailing behind like a giant firework!”wrote one astonished stargazer. 

Another user wondered aloud if the phenomenon was Martians getting payback for NASA’s Perseverance rover touching down on their red planet.

See, we land on Mars, the Martians start firing stuff at us #meteor

— andrea elton (@Andrea_E_Elton) March 1, 2021

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Meteor exploded so brightly it triggered doorbell cams across Northern England

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