Watch as a spectacular fireball lights up the sky in the south of Spain

The space rock entered the atmosphere in the north-western part of Malaga province and disintegrated near Marchena, Seville

EP

An impressive ball of fire flew over the provinces of Malaga, Cadiz and Seville in the early hours of Sunday 9 January. The light was so bright it could be seen throughout Spain, even in Tarragona, and across north Africa.

Speaking to Europa Press, José María Madiedo, a researcher at the Andalusian Astrophysics Institute (IAA-CSIC), said the spectacular sight was a real treat for anyone who saw it. “If what the cameras picked up was already striking, seeing it live had to be shocking," he said.

Madiedo said a fireball occurs when a rock enters the Earth's atmosphere at high speed which causes it to burn into a bright light until it disintegrates.

The fireball visible on Sunday was rock from the tail end of a comet which broke loose and entered the atmosphere at a speed of 150,000 kilometres per hour before disintegrating near Marchena in Seville province.