It’s a good month for Earth-bound skywatchers. After having been treated earlier this month to the most spectacular aurora display in decades, sky-watching residents of Portugal and Spain were treated this week to a spectacular blue-green fireball as a lingering meteor burned up above them. Videos of the spectacle were posted to social media, showing a bright blue-green flash, a long flaming descent, then an orange trail that continued to glow for several seconds before fading back into the darkness. The stunning videos garnered millions of views worldwide.

Talk of the fireball took Reddit, Facebook, X, and other social media sites by storm. Colin Rugg shared footage of the meteor on his X feed, calling it “insane.” He speculated whether the shooting star might have hit the ground near Pinheiro, or near Castro Daire. The fireball was also quickly reported on by the Nova Portugal. The news organization described the spectacle of “sparkling blue.”

The European Space Agency (ESA) publicly confirmed that the spectacle was made by a meteor, calling the display “stunning.” ESA cameras stationed in Cáceres, Spain at 22:46 Greenwich time (6:46 pm EDT) on May 18. The fireball was, according to the ESA, a comet fragment that crossed the skies over Portugal and Spain, screaming through the atmosphere at around a 100,000 miles an hour. The meteor most likely disintegrated at an altitude of 38 miles when it finally burned up over the Atlantic ocean.

Astronomical bodies, such as comets and asteroids, often break up in their travels through the cosmos. They also impact larger bodies such as planets, planetoids, and Earth’s own moon, creating storms of ejected fragments that circulate through the solar system. When these smaller rocks and ice chunks—called “meteoroids”—hit the Earth’s atmosphere, they are slowed down and heated through friction with the air. The heat makes the material glow, often intensely, showing up as “shooting stars” as they streak through the sky, leaving trails of glowing atmospheric gasses in their wake.