Friday, May 1, 2015

Lost in the night sky: Meteor explodes over Ireland

A meteorite turned into a fireball as powerful as a nuclear explosion just 21 miles above the Earth.

 Astronomers are “desperately” seeking eye-witness accounts of a fireball that was seen streaking across Irish skies on Sunday.

According to David Moore, editor of the Astronomy Ireland magazine, his organisation received hundreds of reports of a bright fireball at 10.10pm on Sunday night, all the way from Kerry to Donegal.

“It was most likely a rock from space exploding in the atmosphere, we’re still trying to gauge how big it was and where it might have landed,” Mr Moore said.



“If you were in space looking down, you would have seen Ireland lit up for a few seconds. People in urban areas with their lights on watching their TVs with windows facing the right direction have reported seeing it. 

The meteorite
The meteorite explosion recorded by astronomers in Northern Ireland. Photo from Express

 “We were getting reports from Valentia Coast Guard of flares being released, but it was the wrong colour for one of their flares, so they were getting lots of reports last night as well,” 

Mr Moore said the energy involved in Sunday night’s spectacle would have been equal to an atomic bomb dropping during the second World War.

Meteor3
A meteorite streaking across northern Yorkshire at about the same time Sunday. Express

 Similar object

Reports suggest that a similar object was also spotted over northern England and Wales around the same time.Such events can be seen from more than 1,000km away. 

On average, it is thought that two meteorites land on Irish soil each year, but they’re rarely as visible as this latest sighting. 

On the basis of the eye-witness accounts received so far, experts speculate that the object could have been as large as a car. - Irish Times

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