Fireballs seen in sky over England

Sept. 22, 2012 at 11:27 AM   |   Comments

LONDON, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Thousands of people across the United Kingdom reported seeing what officials said might have been either a meteor shower or "space junk."

People in the North of England, Northern Ireland and Scotland saw the light display around 10 p.m. Friday, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The Kielder Observatory in Northumberland reported seeing a "huge fire ball from east at 9:55 UTC heading west mag -6 to -7"

"This was an incredible object, different trajectory than March event. Lots of structure, slow moving and displaying color," said a staff member from the observatory. "Many many fragments maybe in excess of 100 pieces started green went yellow. No sound but long, obvious termination lasted 20-30 seconds. What a night."

Tim O'Brien, associate director of the Jodrell Bank Observatory in Manchester, said officials were not sure what the supposed meteor was.

"There is no real consensus yet on whether this was a piece of space junk or a man-made material," he said. "It would have been a bigger chunk of something. Typically the bigger things are space junk.

"This was probably 80 miles up burning as it entered the atmosphere. Mostly these things do burn up in the atmosphere," O'Brien said. "If anything did come down, it would have landed in the ocean."

Topics: Tim O'Brien
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