Bright Green Meteor Serendipitously Captured by Cameras in Spain and Portugal

A composite image showing a meteor blazing across the sky over a highway at night on the left, and a person looking up at the sky during the day on the right. The meteor emits a bright light, and vehicles are seen on the highway below it.
A dashcam captures the meteor, left. A young woman reacts as the skies above her turn green, right.

An unexpected meteor lit up the skies across Spain and Portugal last weekend with the bright green fireball serendipitously caught on camera.

The European Space Agency (ESA) captured the meteor on a camera in Cáceres, Spain at 18:46 local time on Saturday evening. The ESA says the fireball was from a comet passing over the Iberian peninsula at around 100,000 miles per hour.

And thanks to the ubiquity of cameras, everyday folk who happened to be filming at the exact moment the meteor passed overhead were able to capture once-in-a-lifetime imagery.

Space notes that shooting stars such as this one are pieces of material that break away from larger celestial bodies such as asteroids, comets, the Moon, or even other planets. The meteors enter Earth’s atmosphere at colossal speeds and begin to encounter friction which causes them to burn brightly.

Which color the meteor burns indicates its chemical composition; in this case, the green means the fireball is burning magnesium.

The hunt is underway to find the meteor, but there’s no guarantee it did hit the ground and may have burned up entirely.