Mysterious ‘fireball’ lights up night sky above Scotland

The 'meteor' could be seen streaking through the clouds across the country.

A meteor has been spotted streaking across the night sky in Scotland.

The UK Meteor Network said it had had more than 200 reports of people seeing a “fireball” above them late on Wednesday evening.

The light was witnessed at around 10pm heading west, with sightings also in Northern Ireland.

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 said.

“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, an astronomer and science communicator at the Glasgow Science Centre, was one of those who saw the light.

He explained that usually, such sights only last for a fraction of a second, but that on this occasion, it was more visible.

“It was incredible. I was sitting in my living room last night and saw out of the window, due south, this brilliant fireball, this meteor, steaking across the sky,” he told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme.

“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.”

Mr Owens described it as a “pretty incredible sight” to witness.

He said: “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 ten seconds, probably longer than that, and it travelled from due south all the way across the the west, so it was a pretty incredible sight.”

The astronomer suggested that the meteor witnessed on Wednesday may have been around the size of a golf ball or a cricket bat.

He explained: “Normally these little streaks of light, these little shooting stars, they all burn up and everything just vanishes and evaporates, 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 bat, 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.”

Mr Owens said that it is “not impossible” that the meteor landed.

“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,” he added.

“It was certainly headings 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.”

The UK Meteor Network said that having “studied many videos of last night’s fireball over Ireland, Northern England and Scotland”, it was of the opinion it was “space debris”.

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