Breathtaking meteor photographed over Loch Ness was a fluke, says John Alasdair Macdonald

Highland tour guide John Alasdair Macdonald was taking some pictures for his Facebook page when he captured this spectacular photograph of a meteor over Loch Ness in Scotland. The flash in the night sky triggered several calls to the Coastguard by people wondering whether it might have been a distress flare.

Mr. Macdonald said the picture of the shooting star was taken at about 21:00 on Sunday with his Sony compact camera.

A meteor, also known as a shooting star, is a piece of space debris burning up as it whizzes through our atmosphere. The rock that manages to get through and land on the ground is called a meteorite.

Meteor over Loch Ness

Mr. Macdonald said he was lucky. (Image: The Hebridean Explorer)

Describing his amazing achievement as a “fluke”, Mr. Macdonald, who runs The Hebridean Explorer, said:

“I was taking some new pictures to put on my Facebook page using a Sony RX100 compact camera. It was a beautiful, clear night and I got some nice pictures but capturing the meteor was a fluke. I will never take a picture like that again.”

According to the Maritime Coastguard Agency, the meteor was the cause of phone calls from Galloway, Dumfries, the Highlands and Cumbria.

Mr. Macdonald said he had seen social media messages describing a meteor in other parts of the country, including Sleat on Skye. Some media sources in Scotland said people in Switzerland and Germany may have seen the same meteor as it was hurtling through the atmosphere.

In an interview with the Scotsman, Mr. Macdonald said:

“We had lovely weather up here at the weekend and I live near Loch Ness so I thought I’d just nip down to try to get some photos of the stars over the loch to put on my Facebook page and drum up some business.”

“I went down to the Dochfar end of the loch and set my Sony RX100 compact camera on a tripod. It has a 30-second exposure and I’d been there for about an hour when I seem to remember seeing a quick flash of light lasting about two to three seconds.”

“I held my breath for the next 10 seconds hoping the camera had caught it. The meteor was very strange, very bright, a brilliant white, cutting across the loch at a diagonal and exploded across the loch and seeming to come to an end in the middle of it, though in reality it goodness knows how far away it was.”

A tourist produced interesting video footage of disturbance in Loch Ness waters, that could have been caused by a large creature.

Video – What is a meteor?

Scientist Emerald Robinson explains what a meteor is.