A "silent" fireball lit up the night sky over Japan for a few seconds before burning up in atmosphere on November 21. Witnesses said that the large meteor whizzed through the sky for a few seconds and then burned up with a greenish glow.
The meteor was spotted at 9.30 pm local time. According to reports, the fireball was a tiny chunk of space rock that burned and illuminated the sky with green light. Several people in Yoshitaka and Syouko in southern Japan spotted the meteor on Tuesday night.
"It's a fireball ... a big meteor. Fragments of sand and stone moving through space lit up due to friction upon entering Earth's atmosphere," The Asahi Shimbun quoted Chisato Yamauchi, a researcher at Misato astronomical observatory in Wakayama Prefecture, as saying.
"Such brightness could be observed only a handful of times in any given year. It lit up for about three seconds. It is almost certainly a fireball," Yasuo Shiba an executive of Nippon Meteor Society said.
Shiba added that the meteor is likely part of the Taurids meteor shower, an annual celestial event that takes place in October and November.
The Taurids meteor showers streak across the sky between October and November. These meteors are associated with Comet Encke. During the meteor shower, shooting stars caused by grains of dust and ice shed by the comet can be seen across the sky.
In October, residents in China's Yunnan Province spotted three giant fireballs or meteor while celebrating mid-autumn festival. One of the meteors shined brighter than the moon before disappearing from the sky.
According to NASA, the meteor travelled with a velocity of 14.6 kilometres per second and said to have generated 0.54 kilotons of energy, which is equivalent to 540 tonnes of TNT explosives.