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Meteor "as bright as the full moon" caught on camera in Japan

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Orionids: What to know about the fall meteor shower 00:59

A brightly burning meteor was seen plunging from the sky in wide areas of Japan, capturing attention on television and social media. The meteor glowed strongly as it rapidly descended through the Earth's atmosphere on Sunday.

Many people in western Japan reported on social media seeing the rare sight. NHK public television said its cameras in the central prefectures of Aichi, Mie and elsewhere captured the fireball in the southern sky.

「火球」目撃投稿相次ぐ 満月級の明るさと専門家 by KyodoNews on YouTube

A camera at Nagoya port showed the meteor shining as brightly as it neared the Earth, the Asahi newspaper reported.

Some experts said small fragments of the meteorite might have reached the ground.

"We believe the last burst of light was as bright as the full moon," Takeshi Inoue, director of the Akashi Municipal Planetarium, told Kyodo news agency.

A meteor falls in Tatsuno
A meteor falls in Tatsuno, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan November 29, 2020 in this still image taken from a social media video obtained by Reuters on November 30, 2020.  @HIDE85688321 via Reuters

The fireball was visible for just a few seconds in the early hours of Sunday, but was caught on cameras owned by NHK -- which generally capture earthquake activity rather than extraterrestrial light shows.

"The sky went bright for a moment and I felt strange because it couldn't be lightning," said one Twitter user who saw the fireball. "I felt the power of the universe!"

"Was that a fireball? I thought it was the end of the world..." said another, tweeting a video of the meteor captured while driving.

A similarly bright shooting star was spotted over Tokyo in July and later identified as a meteor, fragments of which were found in neighbouring Chiba prefecture

AFP contributed to this report.

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