Shine Bright

In Portugal, a comet shot through the sky and illuminated the whole sky turquoise — and one lucky girl captured the entire extravaganza on camera.

Posted on X-formerly-Twitter and Instagram, the stunning fireball footage from Portuguese content creator Milena Refacho has gone incredibly viral, with her original post garnering more than six million views as netizens marveled with her at the spectacle.

In the video, the 19-year-old Refacho's friends can be heard exclaiming to the heavens — and, in one hilarious instance, to hell — in Portuguese at the surprise light show.

Later, the European Space Agency confirmed that a comet fragment had indeed paraded through the skies of Portugal and Spain, and that it appeared to have burnt up in the atmosphere, resulting in the fantastical blue-green explosion that lit up the sky at nearly midnight local time. It's unlikely that any of the fragments survived the fiery crash, the ESA added.

Comet Conundrum

While it's certainly not uncommon for such space projectiles to leave brilliant tails behind them as they burn up in our planet's atmosphere, this comet fragment's descent was extra-bright, the New York Times explains, because it was careening at around 100,000 miles per hour. That's twice the average speed of a rocky asteroid, which seems to have made it twice as bright, too.

As the NYT adds in its write-up, the ice-rock composure of most comets suggests they were born at the dawn of our Solar System, which makes this one's incredible final display all the more special.

In an interview with the newspaper, planetary astronomer Meg Schwamb of Queen's University in Belfast said that although there are "notable meteor showers throughout the year, which are the result of the Earth crossing debris clouds of specific comets," the brilliance of this comet may tell scientists something about its size.

This chunk, Schwamb said, "is likely a bit bigger than a good fraction of the meteors we see during meteor showers, so this just made a bigger light show."

"It’s an unexpected interplanetary fireworks show," the astronomer added.

More on hunks of space: Giant Piece of Space Junk Crashes Down on Farm of Canadian, Who Intends to Sell It and Spend Money on Hockey Rink

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