Asteroid lights up night sky over English Channel

It created an explosion after entering the atmosphere

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A small asteroid lit up the night sky after exploding over the English Channel in the early hours of Monday.

The one-metre asteroid, called Sar2667, could be seen across much of southern England and as far south as Paris.

Reports said it created a fireball airburst, or explosion, after entering the atmosphere.

The European Space Agency said there was a first-time development, with scientists able to predict its arrival after spotting its approach hours earlier.

It tweeted: “This is just the seventh time an #asteroidimpact has ever been predicted before it happens - a sign of the rapid advancements in global asteroid detection capabilities.”

The International Meteor Organisation, a Belgium-based non-profit organisation, said there was a “very bright flash” close to the enlightened skies on both sides of the Channel at 2.59am.

“At the predicted time, small asteroid 2023 CX1 (…designated under Sar2667) entered the Earth atmosphere, producing a very bright fireball that was reported by dozens of witnesses, and recorded on video by astronomers and public," it wrote on its website.

“This 7th predicted asteroid entry, seen its geographical position, favourable weather and the delay between discovery and meteor, may be the most covered of all.”

The last time an asteroid was predicted to enter the Earth’s atmosphere in advance was in November in Ontario, Canada.

Late last month, a lorry-sized asteroid passed Earth in one of the closest approaches to the planet ever recorded, according to Nasa.

Asteroid 2023 BU, which was discovered by an amateur astronomer, zoomed by the southern tip of South America on January 26, just 2,200 miles (3,600 kilometres) from the Earth's surface, much closer than many geostationary satellites orbiting the planet.

Updated: February 13, 2023, 10:18 AM