Was it a meteor or a shooting star? Reports across Scotland of mysterious light in sky
The UK Meteor Network said it began receiving reports of a fireball spotted about 9pm on Thursday.
The network said it was “investigating to ascertain what the object was, meteor or space debris”, adding that most reports had come from Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Further reports emerged from East Lothian, Edinburgh and Motherwell.
Danny Nell, 21, was walking his dog in Johnstone, just west of Paisley and Glasgow, when he saw the fireball.
“I was walking my dog and it was strangely enough 10pm on the dot and I just saw the flash in the sky and pulled out my phone and recorded it,” the Glasgow resident told the PA news agency.
“I thought it may be a firework at first because there was a lot of Scottish football on but quickly realised it wasn’t and just grabbed my phone to see if I could catch it.”
Steve Owens, astronomer and science communicator at the Glasgow Science Centre, saw the fireball as it passed over Scotland on Wednesday evening.
He told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “It was incredible. I was sitting in my living room at exactly 10 o’clock last night and saw out of the window, due south, this brilliant fireball, this meteor streaking across the sky, and I could tell that it was something special because I could see through broken cloud.
“It wasn’t perfectly visible; I could see that it was fragmenting, breaking apart, there were little bits coming off it.
“And normally, if you see a meteor or a shooting star, they are just tiny little streaks of light, they last for a fraction of a second, This one was streaking across the sky for at least 10 seconds – probably longer than that – and it travelled from due south all the way across to the west, so it was a pretty incredible sight.”
He said it is possible it could have landed but added it is “highly unlikely” it landed in Scotland.
He said: “Normally these tiny little streaks of light, these little shooting stars, they all burn up and everything just vanishes and evaporates in the atmosphere, but the thing last night was bigger than a little bit of dust.
“The one last night might have been the size of a golf ball or maybe a cricket ball, maybe bigger than that, so it’s certainly not impossible that bits could have landed.
“It looked like it was travelling a fair distance, as these things do, and it was fairly flat across the sky as I saw it.
“The UK Meteor Network, which has had hundreds of reports from around Scotland and further afield, is going to be able to triangulate all of those reports to work out its trajectory.
“It looked to me like it was heading… it was certainly heading towards the west and, given that people in Northern Ireland were reporting seeing it, it could well have passed over land and ended up in the Atlantic, but it’s certainly not impossible that it landed – finding it will be the challenge.”
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