Huge ‘Meteor’ in Scotland crashes with a ‘bang’ – what was it and where did it land?

Huge 'Meteor' in Scotland crashes with a 'bang' - what was it and where did it land?

The videos capturing the celestial phenomenon were taken at the same time from several different locations, showing just how big and bright the “fireball” was.

What was the ‘fireball’ seen over Scotland?

Reports from hundreds of residents in Scotland and Northern Ireland describe a massive “fireball” streaking across the night sky.

After hundreds of submitted videos and a network of 170 detection cameras dedicated to recording meteors and other celestial phenomena in British skies, the UK Meteor Network has confirmed that the object, which was seen in the sky during more than 20 seconds, it was “definitely a meteor.”

What is the difference between a meteor and space debris?

According to NASA, meteoroids (which become “meteors” when they enter the Earth’s atmosphere) are space objects that range in size from small asteroids to small grains, and can be considered “space rocks.”

A shooting star is an example of a meteor that can be seen visibly entering our atmosphere.

Examples of “space junk” include disused man-made objects such as satellites that orbit the Earth and occasionally enter our atmosphere.

Space debris refers to man-made, non-functional objects or fragments that float into orbit or re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere.

How can you tell the difference between a meteor and space junk?

Meteors and space debris can burn in similar colors and intensities, since meteors often contain many elements or alloys found in man-made objects, so a quick glance can’t confirm what it is.

However, the speed of the object can tell us much more.

Most space junk that re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere travels at about 25-30 thousand kilometers per hour, while meteors travel much faster, reaching speeds of 70-80 thousand kilometers per hour.

The UK Meteor Network confirmed on Twitter that the meteor spotted on Wednesday “arrived in an asteroid orbit and entered the atmosphere at 14.2km/s”.

This is equivalent to approximately 51 thousand kilometers per hour.

Where did the meteorite crash?

Glasgow Science Centre’s Science Outreacher and astronomer Steve Owens witnessed the fireball streak across the sky in Scotland on Wednesday evening, 14 September.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s ‘Good Morning Scotland’ programme, he said it was possible he had landed in Scotland but it was “highly unlikely”.

He said: “The UK Meteor Network, which has had hundreds of reports from Scotland and further afield, will be able to triangulate all these reports to work out its trajectory.

“It looked to me like it was going… it was definitely heading west and given that people in Northern Ireland were reporting seeing it, it could have gone over land and ended up in the Atlantic, but it’s not impossible that landed, finding it will be the challenge.”

The network said the end of the meteor’s path was not caught on camera, but is expected to have ended up in the North Atlantic Ocean, about 50-100 km west of the island of ‘Islay.

Can meteors be dangerous?

Although meteors usually enter the Earth’s atmosphere, they rarely cause harm or trouble to people.

According to NASA, only every 2,000 years or so does a major meteoroid, the size of a football field, strike Earth and cause “significant damage” to the surrounding area.

When software developer Stuart Padley asked the UK’s Meteorite Network whether the meteorite seen in Scotland would have made a crater on impact, and if so, how big, the network replied: “Probably none. It was quite small.”

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