Hundreds of testimonies came last night from people who saw a large fireball split in the sky in the UK. Scientists are trying to figure out what this phenomenon might be. Early results indicate space debris has returned to Earth, not a meteorite.
The fireball was seen over Northern Ireland, Scotland and northern England around 10pm on Wednesday. Several witnesses have shared stunning images on social media of the greenish-white orb drawing a long line in the night sky.
More than 1,000 testimonials have already been received from the American Meteor Association and its partners, as well as ten videos showing the phenomenon. Some witnesses in Scotland say they heard a loud noise.
It is not clear what exactly the phenomenon is. Scientists are studying whether it was a meteorite — a rock from space — or debris from human activity around the Earth. The first results seem to point in the direction of the second. “There is a very, very high chance that it will turn into space debris, unfortunately,” Luke Daly, a planetary scientist at the University of Glasgow, said in the scientific journal New Scientist.
“The fireball had a very low angle of entry, a large amount of fragmentation typical of space debris, and it flew slowly. Space rocks usually move a little faster.” Further investigation will show what the final verdict is.
The UK’s Meteor Network reported that it spotted the orbit of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites, but did not get close to the UK last night. “Currently, we do not see any known space debris or satellite orbit that could be causing the fireball. We will review the data,” it appears on Twitter.
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