Fireball Meteor or Re-Entering Satellite? “Something” Broke Up Over the UK on Friday

by Fraser Cain on September 22, 2012

Twitter is all abuzz with sightings of a huge fireball meteor that streaked across the skies Friday night at approximately 22:00 UTC. There are reports from Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Central England.

I’m going to link a bunch of videos so you can check out the event from multiple angles, but I want to make a completely unscientific judgement: it kind of looks like a re-entering spacecraft. Take a look at what the Jules Verne spacecraft looked like when it came back into the Earth’s atmosphere. See how it broke up into all those pieces? And don’t let anyone fool you with this picture. It was taken about 3 years ago in the Netherlands.

Phil made a similar observation, but he’s still on the fence. We’ll have to wait for someone official to tell us what it was.

Did you see it? Did you get a video?

I’ll give you an update as soon as I know anything else.

Here are some videos. Fair warning, there’s a lot of bad language in almost all the videos. I can’t blame them, I’d probably be swearing too. Just keep that in mind as you watch with your kids.

Here’s my favorite. Although it’s not very close up, you can really see the shape and structure of the meteor as it came apart into multiple pieces:

Next, here’s a much more detailed video from dongman45 as it passes over the Liverpool/Manchester area. You can see the meteor much closer now, and it no longer has all the separate pieces.

Another great one that shows the meteor streaming past from a side angle. You can see dozens of pieces trailing together.

Here’s another from Scotland (warning… language):

Another great one (warning… even more language. Actually… it’s all bad language)

P.S. You want to be very skeptical when you’re evaluating meteor videos during events like this. In my experience, the trolls will quickly show up and post photos and videos to older spacecraft re-entries and meteors. So if you see this picture, or this video, you’ll know it’s a fake.

About 

Fraser Cain is the publisher of Universe Today. He's also the co-host of Astronomy Cast with Dr. Pamela Gay.

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