'Biggest one I've seen': Meteor lights up night sky

A meteor streaked across the sky above Britain last night - hours before the historic but failed space launch in Cornwall.

The Met Office confirmed reports of the meteor in a tweet and encouraged stargazers who managed to see it to share footage.

One who managed to catch a glimpse of the meteor was Daz Bradbury, who witnessed it from Peckham in southeast London.

Capturing the meteor at 8.01pm on his Nest camera, Mr Bradbury compared it to an aeroplane for scale.

Another Twitter user who saw it from Horsham, West Sussex, wrote that it moved slowly across the sky with a really long tail.

"Longest and largest meteorite sighting I've ever experienced!" @PHILDEL wrote.

Laura, from Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire, caught the meteor on camera at about 8pm from her home.

"I had just turned my computer off and looked up out of the window, it was perfect timing," she said.

"It was large in the sky, orange with an orange blaze behind it, not what I would describe as a long shooting star tail but a shorter orange one.

"Then it just disappeared… popped out of the sky. It seemed like it hadn't really happened.

"I tried to tell my husband but they didn't quite believe my account!"

Read more:
'It's gutting': Historic space launch from UK fails
'Space is hard': Crowds look on bright side after launch disappointment
Relive the space mission as it happened

The meteor came on the same night that a modified Virgin Boeing 747 named Cosmic Girl took off from Newquay Airport, with a 21m LauncherOne rocket attached to its wing.

An "anomaly" prevented the rocket, which had a payload of nine satellites, from reaching orbit.

The Start Me Up mission is part of the government's National Space Strategy, which sets out how the UK will become the first European country to launch satellites into orbit.

Last week delighted stargazers witnessed another meteor, known as a Quadrantid meteor.

It was described among the strongest and most consistent meteor showers.

Meteors are pieces of debris that enter Earth's atmosphere at speeds of up to 43 miles per second (70km per second), vaporising and causing the streaks of light we call meteors.