In the early morning of March 17, hours before the Saint Patrick’s Day festivities began, the skies of Britain were lit up by a bright blue-green meteor.
The fireball was spotted at around 3.16 a.m. local time across England in parts of the east coast, Stafford, Hampshire, and Battersea in south west London.
The meteor was also a particularly bright one. The Guardian reports that it is the brightest meteor ever recorded by the UK Meteor Observation Network (UKMON), estimated to have a brightness of -7 magnitude, and an explosion magnitude of -14.
Meteors can glow a variety of colors depending on their metal composition – yellow, orange, green, blue, or lilac. The blue-green color of this meteorite suggests it contained large concentrations of magnesium. Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell the color of the meteor’s streak in the captured imagery as most of the footage is in black and white. However, sightings of the flash and its green tinge prompted many stargazers to tweet about the “St Patrick’s Day meteor.”
According to a tweet by UKMON, they calculated the orbit of the meteor as originating beyond Jupiter, although they are currently working on a more precise estimation.
“This is the biggest meteor sighting we have recorded,” Richard Kacerek from UKMON told BBC News. “It lasted for a few seconds. It was seen for hundreds of miles. We have received a number of emails.”
In fact, sightings and interest in the green flash were so high it caused the UKMON website to crash with all the traffic. Either that, or their astronomers had too many pints of Guinness.