A giant fireball was seen flying over Britain and Ireland on Sunday evening. The meteor is believed to have crashed somewhere in Ireland or the Irish Sea, and a hunt is underway for the meteorite(s) that could be worth a lot of money.
The meteor was filmed by the UKMON (United Kingdom Meteor Observing Network) in Portadown, County Armagh, Northern Ireland. The video (bottom of page) shows a bright light hurtling across the sky towards the Irish Sea.
According to UKMON, the meteorite came from an asteroid in orbit between Mars and Jupiter. Rumors are flying that whoever finds it could be in for a generous windfall worth thousands of pounds.
Fireball photograph captured from an all sky camera. (Image: ukmeteornetwork.co.uk)
“We have received over 50 public reports so far about a fireball spotted on 26 April 2015 at 22:10pm.”
In an interview with the Irish Mirror David Moore from Astronomy Ireland said:
“This event was so bright that a piece or pieces may have survived the re-entry and landed as extremely rare and valuable meteorites.”
“We are appealing to everyone who saw the fireball to fill in to online report form on Astronomy Ireland’s website ‘astronomy.ie’ as soon as possible while the details are fresh in their minds. In return we will send everyone our analysis of all the reports and where we think any meteorite may have landed.”
Several amateur astronomers, however, after making calculations using data from about fifty sightings, believe it could have crashed into the Irish Sea.
“It is very likely something has survived and landed in the Irish Sea. Probably no bigger than 30 to 50 grams.”
Burning at low altitude
According to UKMON, the celestial body was burning at an altitude of just 21 miles, which is much lower than the usual 50 to 75 miles. Experts believe it was formed of very hard and dense material, unlike most meteors which are made of soft material.
UKMON is calling on witnesses to report their sightings.
Meteor captured on Wilcot NW Camera. (Image: ukmeteornetwork.co.uk)
The fireball was so bright and visible that the Irish Coast Guard at Valentia Island, off the Iveragh Peninsula in the south-west of County Kerry, informed Astronomy Ireland because they were receiving so many reports of what people thought were possible distress flares.
Fireballs are seen in the sky when a large rock from space burns up in our atmosphere at speeds of up to 100,000 miles per hour.
Difference between meteors and meteorites
A meteor is an object that enters Earth’s atmosphere from space. We see them flying in the sky. Most meteors burn up completely in the atmosphere.
Any pieces of a meteor that make it through and crash on the ground are called meteorites.
Put simply, a meteorite is a rock that falls to the ground from space.
Video – Fireball UK Meteor Network