Huge ball of fire ‘falls from the sky and crashes into a Chinese town’

Huge ball of fire ‘falls from the sky and crashes into a Chinese county’, leaving locals stunned

  • Giant fireball was spotted flashing across the sky today over Nangqian, China
  • Footage shows the burning sphere exploding and plummeting into the county  
  • Local media suggested the fast-moving object could be a very bright meteor 
  • China’s earthquake authority said a suspected bolide hit the earth at 7.25am

A giant fireball has been spotted flashing across the sky and crashing into a county in southern China.

Footage taken by stunned locals shows an unidentified object exploding into a blazing sphere as it plunges at a fast speed towards the earth.

It is not immediately clear what the ball of fire is, but local media are suggesting the possibility of a very bright meteor. No casualties have been reported.

The giant fireball was spotted flashing across the sky over Nangqian in China this morning 

Various clips on the Chinese social media show the suspected meteor lighting up the sky

Various clips on the Chinese social media show the suspected meteor lighting up the sky

Various clips on the Chinese social media show the suspected meteor lighting up the sky as it plummets into the county of Nangqian in north-western China’s Qinghai Province.

The incident is said to have occurred at around 7am on Wednesday. Local residents reported they had heard loud bangs.

One of the videos, shared by a science blogger on Twitter-like Weibo, captures the moment the fireball soars through the darkness as it is seen by a passenger on a flight from Xi’an to Lhasa.

The incident is said to have occurred at around 7am on Wednesday

Local residents reported they had heard loud bangs

The incident is said to have occurred at around 7am on Wednesday in north-western China

In another piece of footage, the burning object is seen descending quickly towards hills and fields.

In a third clip, the fireball becomes brighter and bigger as it approaches the ground.

Dan Ba, a local, said he witnessed the fireball while taking his child to school.

‘It started very small, but three minutes later it became very big and bright,’ the parent told Pear Video.

One of the videos, shared by a science blogger on Twitter-like Weibo, captures the moment the fireball soars through the darkness as it is seen by a passenger on a domestic flight

One of the videos, shared by a science blogger on Twitter-like Weibo, captures the moment the fireball soars through the darkness as it is seen by a passenger on a domestic flight

Yu Jun, chief writer of Chinese science website Guokr, told Beijing News that the fireball looked like a bolide, which is a very bright meteor.

China Earthquake Networks Center said it had recorded the incident. The authority said through its social media account that a suspected bolide landed near the border between Nangqian County and Yusu County at 7.25am. 

The Nanxiang County Government told Red Star News that it had heard of the matter but was unclear of the details.

Explained: The difference between an asteroid, meteorite and other space rocks

An asteroid is a large chunk of rock left over from collisions or the early solar system. Most are located between Mars and Jupiter in the Main Belt.

A comet is a rock covered in ice, methane and other compounds. Their orbits take them much further out of the solar system.

A meteor is what astronomers call a flash of light in the atmosphere when debris burns up.

This debris itself is known as a meteoroid. Most are so small they are vapourised in the atmosphere.

If any of this meteoroid makes it to Earth, it is called a meteorite.

Meteors, meteoroids and meteorites normally originate from asteroids and comets.

For example, if Earth passes through the tail of a comet, much of the debris burns up in the atmosphere, forming a meteor shower.

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