Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Mysterious Fireball Lights Up Skies over Scotland

Fireball over Scotland on Feb. 29. Credit: Bill Jones / YouTube

A mysterious fireball made a dramatic entrance into the Scottish sky, lighting up the night and making a loud rumbling noise, which left residents somewhat confused. The object is believed to have been a meteor, though that has yet to be confirmed. Police received a number of calls after a big, bright flash or 'fireball' was seen - with people reporting seeing a blue, white or green light. Others said they had heard a rumbling sound.

Professor Keith Horne, from St Andrews University, said the meteor was probably about 10 cm across, with the rumbling sound caused by a sonic boom.

The light appears to have been seen as far south as Berwickshire in the Scottish Borders and Newcastle at about 18:45 GMT on Monday, Feb. 29.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said they began receiving calls at around 18.55.

“One told us the sky had been lit up with an object like a fireball. Another caller said there was a very loud bang and others said the house shook. We know police in Inverness and in the south also received calls – it was seen by people across Scotland. We have checked and been told it was likely to be a meteor shower,” she said.

The Met Office said the event was "not weather-related" as there were no thunder storms recorded on Monday night.

Professor Horne, who is from the university's School of Physics and Astronomy, said the flash would have been caused by a meteor travelling at about 30 km per second.

"What you've seen is a piece of rock from outer space that has crashed into the earth," he said.

There were also suggestions that the alleged meteor could have been a sonic boom from an aircraft or a flare from a satellite. 

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said they would not discuss if there was any link to any operations in the area.

1 comment:

  1. Just curious: Isn't a "meteor" called "meteorite" once it enters the Earth's atmosphere?