Monday, 16 March 2015

Meteor shower over Scotland.

Witnesses reported a series of bright meteors over much of Scotland, as well as parts of Northern Ireland, Cumbria and the Irish and North Seas slightly after 9.00 pm GMT on Sunday 15 March 2015. Meteors were also reported the same evening over parts of Switzerland, Austria and Germany, but it is unclear if these relate to the same event.  

Meteor over Loch Ness on 15 March 2015. John Alasdair Macdonald/Hebridean Explorer/Scottish Television.

Meteor showers are typically caused by the passage of the Earth through the trail of a comet; it does not need to come close to the comet for this to happen, as comets continuously shed tiny particles of dust and ice which continue to orbit the Sun on the same pathway as the parent body. Typically these dust particles strike the atmosphere at speeds of over 200 000 km per hour, burning up in the upper atmosphere and producing a light show in the process. However no such event was forecast for 15 March, and comet-related meteor showers are typically seen from around the globe, whereas this shower appears to have been limited to one (or two) specific geographical area(s). This suggests that the meteor shower may have been the result of some smaller body breaking up close to the Earth, possibly a small asteroid disrupted by the tidal influence of the Earth or Moon or a piece of uncharted manmade space junk.

See also...

Witnesses have reported seeing a bright fireball over Perth and the Gidgegannup Hills in Western Australia at about 8.30 am local time on Monday 9 March 2015.  A fireball is defined as a meteor (shooting star) brighter than the planet Venus. These are typically caused by pieces of rock burning up in the atmosphere, but can...

At three minute past eleven pm on 7 May 1991 the brightest fireball (large meteor) ever recorded was observed over the Czech Republic. This was recorded by four all-sky and two spectral cameras at...


People across the state of Kerala in southwest India reported seeing a bright fireball in the sky between 10.00 and 10.30 pm local time on Friday 27 February 2015. A fireball is defined as a meteor (shooting...



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