Mystery 'meteor' flashes over Canary Islands
Steve Tallantyre · 26 Aug 2013, 17:29
Published: 26 Aug 2013 17:29 GMT+02:00
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A green light "brighter than the day" and lasting three seconds was reported by pilots and witnesses on the ground.
The official Twitter account of Spain's Air Traffic Control (@controladores) was the first to break the news, according to The Huffington Post.
"Various aircraft over the north of the Canary Islands just reported a bright light, lasting 3 seconds, as if it was daytime," it tweeted.
It then added: "From the descriptions given by pilots it was probably a meteorite. Even so, protocols oblige that the military be informed"
Witnesses described the phenomenon as "a white light coming down, with a long tail, falling."
Javier Licandro, of the Canaries Institute of Astrophysics (IAC), told the press that it was most likely a meteoroid of the kind that broke up in the atmosphere, rather than a meteorite which survives contact with the ground.
Nevertheless, he did not discount the possibility that it was the remains of an old satellite.
Licandro said that he would check the data recorded by the observatories on La Palma and Tenerife to see if they had registered the phenomenon.
Twitter was soon full of people describing what they had seen.
@German_Herrera1 wrote: "I saw it from my house in La Laguna, a green light lasting three seconds. Impressive!"
There has so far been no official explanation given.