Fireball over Scotland was '100 per cent a meteor, not space junk', experts conclude

by 24britishtvSept. 15, 2022, 10 p.m. 17
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THE mysterious fireball which was spotted by hundreds of people across Scotland and the UK on Wednesday night was a meteor, it has been confirmed.

Did I legit just see a shooting star in Motherwell or is that something crashing out the sky? pic.twitter.com/DBQh8zXjnT

The news comes despite earlier speculation that the shooting star could have been a piece of space debris from a satellite project run by Elon Musk, the world’s richest person.

John Maclean, an astronomer with the UK Meteor Network, theorised that the fireball had most likely been a Starlink satellite from Musk’s SpaceX company.

However, the UK Meteor Network has since said that the “final analysis is in” and it was “definitely a meteor”.

Thanks to additional data, the network said they were “100% confident this was a small part of an asteroid”.

The group wrote on Twitter: “The final analysis is in! The fireball over [Northern Ireland] and Scotland last night was definitely a meteor.

“The fireball observed yesterday (Sept 14, 20:59:40 UT) above the UK lasted over 20 seconds and traveled NW, passing directly over Belfast.”

The long lasting visibility of the meteor was put down to “the entry angle, velocity and rate of ablation”.

The network further said: “The end was not observed on our cameras [of which they have 172 across the UK], but it definitely ended over the North Atlantic Ocean some 50-100 km west of the Isle of Islay.

“It came on an asteroidal orbit and entered the atmosphere at 14.2 km/s. The observed portion of the trajectory covered over 300 km. If any meteorites did fall, they ended up in the ocean.”

Answering questions from Twitter users about the incorrect analysis which said it was space debris, the network wrote: “We couldn't rule anything out until more data was collected and analysed. The fireball had some odd characteristics.”

A trail of odd lights seen over Fife in February however, did turn out to be down to Musk’s satellite programmes.

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