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8 Sep, 2014 16:18

Great balls of fire: Meteor illuminates Spanish skyline (VIDEO)

Great balls of fire: Meteor illuminates Spanish skyline (VIDEO)

Early risers got an unexpected treat on Sunday in Spain, as a fireball whistled across the country – lighting up the morning sky. It passed through eight regions, traveling the length of the country, leaving a trail of smoke in its wake.

The Spanish Meteor Network confirmed the fireball had passed over the country; however, they did not know where it had originated, the Local reported.

It was also visible over Barcelona; however, not everyone would have managed to catch a glimpse as it passed over at 6.55am.

Just under a year and a half ago, another fireball streaked across the Spanish capital Madrid. The celestial display was so bright it could be seen across the entire country.

Bola de fuego en España iluminó el cielo de 8 comunidades http://t.co/xJyh1JZm4Mpic.twitter.com/8mz8VlFiC7

— DespiertAlFuturo (@DespierAlFuturo) September 8, 2014

The eye-popping moment was caught on camera by the Hita Observatory at the University of Huelva at around 11:45pm local time (21:45 GMT). The object struck the atmosphere above the Villamuelas district in the province of Toledo, southwest of Madrid.

Fireballs are caused by meteors burning up as they enter Earth's atmosphere. They travel at incredibly high speeds, up to 73km per second. Fireballs tend to be brighter than meteors, while especially bright fireballs such as the one over Spain on Sunday are often called bolides.

In February 2013, Russia’s Urals region was rocked by a meteorite explosion in the stratosphere. The impact wave damaged several buildings, while 1,200 people in Chelyabinsk had to seek medical attention.