Meteor explodes in UK sky as dazzling fireball and loud explosion reported for miles on Sunday night, according to videos and reports received by the UK Meteor Network.
‘Fireball’ meteor spotted across the UK
The meteor was spotted shortly before 10 pm and appeared for around seven seconds making a loud, resonant sound across southern England, according to the UK Fireball Alliance (UKFall). It was caught on doorbells and security cameras in Manchester, Cardiff, Honiton, Bath, Midsomer Norton, and Milton Keynes. Scientists from the UKFall said it is possible that the fireball was a part of an asteroid falling to earth. They said the bright light could be visible from Ireland to the Netherlands.
The UK meteor network, a group of amateur astronomers that has been capturing meteor sightings through cameras across the UK since 2012, said the meteor was a fireball. It said on Twitter, “From the two videos we saw it was a slow-moving meteor with clearly visible fragmentation.”
NEW – Meteor lit up the sky over the UK on Sunday night.pic.twitter.com/Ra6fWKou4s
— Disclose.tv 🚨 (@disclosetv) March 1, 2021
A fireball meteor, also known as a shooting star, is a rapidly moving space rock inside Earth’s atmosphere. According to the American Meteor Society (AMS), fireballs are generally a magnitude -4, as blazing as the planet Venus when spotted in the evening or morning. It explained that while “several thousand meteors of fireball magnitude occur in the Earth’s atmosphere each day”, most land on the ocean or barren areas.
At least six specialized UKFAll fireball cameras besides other cameras across the UK captured the fireball. The UK meteor network group told over 120 people had reported spotting Sunday night’s meteor. The meteor is likely to break the world record as the most-reported sightings – with 758 reports on International Meteor Organisation’s website.
Dr. Luke Daly of the University of Glasgow and UKFAll said, “Most of the meteoroids vapourised during the six seconds of visible flight. However, with this one, we think quite a few fragments probably reached the ground.”
“If pieces landed, they are likely to have been on or just north of Cheltenham, out towards Stow-on-the-Wold. So most pieces are likely to be on farmland,” he said.
According to UKFall’s Dr. Ashley King, the video recordings suggested its speed was 30,000 miles per hour approximately. This is too fast for it to be man-made ‘space junk’. Hence it was not an old rocket or satellite.
Witnesses wrote on Twitter
One witness wrote on Twitter, “I first thought it was a bright star or planet, then it got bigger & faster, then a huge flash lit up the sky & it burst into a massive tail of orange sparks trailing behind like a giant firework!”
Another said he couldn’t believe his eyes and it was the most incredible thing in his experience. One viewer joked that in reality, the meteor was their toddler “overlord” arriving to take over the world.