An incoming meteor (or a pile of space junk, which some experts say it could be) has smashed between Scotland and Northern Ireland in full view of much of the UK, which has a population of almost 70 million.
Over 1,000 reports (opens in a new tab) flocked to the American Meteor Society despite the late hour, including a collection of photos and videos from the fireball event. Dozens of reports and videos also appeared on Twitter, as you can see below, from dashcams, doorbell cameras and cellphones.
Related: A bright yellow-green fireball lights up the sky over England (video, photos)
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Did I legitimately see a shooting star at Motherwell or is it something crashing in the sky? pic.twitter.com/DBQh8zXjnTSeptember 14, 2022
I can’t believe I saw this and managed to catch it on camera!! Pass over Paisley at 10pm☄️ #glasgow #paisley #meteor #comet #fireball @UKMeteorNetwork @Daily_Record pic.twitter.com/mH9o2062nISeptember 14, 2022
Fireball spotted crossing #Donegal this evening. Described as green and lighting up the sky. Some described hearing a charging bang soon after. pic.twitter.com/0WavzL7cuKSeptember 14, 2022
Wow comet tonight #comet #asteroid #meteor pic.twitter.com/jQ5YFvmhHLSeptember 14, 2022
Fireball over Glasgow, taken on my dashcam. #fireball #meteor pic.twitter.com/eoWDL6JgwNSeptember 14, 2022
So far we’ve had 35 public reports of a fireball spotted at 9:00 p.m. and a few of our cameras captured it pic.twitter.com/jLDrHMPQvdSeptember 14, 2022
A viewer joked that the universe was celebrating their new doctorate.
Brilliant enough of the universe to give me a #glasgow #meteor on the day I get my PhD 🥳😂☄️ if you have any pictures be sure to send them to @UKMeteorNetwork and @UK_FireballSeptember 15, 2022
AMA’s initial computer trajectory suggests the fireball first appeared north of Loch Ryan (about a two-hour drive southwest of Glasgow) and disappeared north of the Isle of Islay , further north along the UK coast.
The UK Meteor Network reported 800 views (opens in a new tab) of the fireball in the wee hours of the morning, adding that their experts suspect it is space junk.
Given the duration of the reported event, at 19 seconds, astronomer Will Gater said on Twitter that he also suspected the fireball could be a space debris event (opens in a new tab). Jonathan McDowell, a debris observer based at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, tweeted (opens in a new tab) it may be the SpaceX Starlink 4653 satellite, “but by my estimation it was heading a bit south of the UK”
Gater also wrote an article for New Scientist (opens in a new tab), and spoke with planetary scientist Luke Daly of the University of Glasgow; Daly, a member of the UK Fireball Alliance, said there was a “reasonably high probability it was space junk” based on parameters such as its slower speed, “shallow angle of entry deep [and] a substantial amount of fragmentation.
Whatever the origin of the fireball, the event was harmless because it occurred tens of miles (or miles) high in the atmosphere. No astronomical society has yet reported whether it has generated meteorites, which rarely happens when a space rock breaks apart naturally in the atmosphere and portions make it to the ground.