Fireballs over the Scotland/Ireland/England on Sept 20/22

Another round of fireball reports was submitted to this blog last night. Three fireballs were observed over England, Scotland and Ireland during the evenings of Sept 20 & 22.

The first fireball was seen at 23:16 BST on Sept 20 from Marlow, Buckinghamshire, UK. Marlow is located ~50km or 30 miles west of London. A detailed description can be found at the Wycombe Astronomical Society. It was described as a white slow-moving meteor with a brightness of -3 magnitudes (between the brightness of Jupiter and Venus). This looks like a natural meteor caused by a meteoroid. It is possible that it a piece of a re-entering satellite. Thanks to Ed Davies for calling attention to this sighting.

The second fireball was reported by Lucy from East Mersea in southeast England. She reported a fireball with 4 components around 8:30 PM on Sept 22. The description seems to suggest a fireball which has broken up. It could be either a natural meteor or a re-entering piece of man-made space junk.

The third fireball also occurred during the evening of Sept 22 at 9:30-9:40 PM. Largo (Hamilton, just outside of Glasgow in southwest Scotland) and Debbie (Islandmagee, County Antrim, Northern Ireland) both described a fireball moving from East to West. It was multi-colored with a tail. The East to West motion probably rules out a re-entering satellite so this one looks to be a natural meteor caused by a meteoroid or small asteroid.

A third report of this fireball has been submitted by Chris Day of Accrington, England. He described a white/yellow fireball which latest for at least 6 seconds. It moved from the West to the East before setting behind trees and buildings.

With 3 fireball sightings from the British Isles and the Sept 19th fireball over southern California, I’m sure everyone is wondering what’s going on?

Though very bright fireballs, such as the southern CA one, are rare, they occur nightly somewhere in the world. We don’t read much about them because they are usually missed. Most of the world is covered by oceans, or cloudy, or uninhabited, so we only hear of bright fireballs occurring over major population centers. Secondly, meteors with brightnesses comparable to the brightest planets, such as the Marlow meteor, probably occur nightly for any observer willing to spend all night staring at the sky. Since we are only outside and looking up for a fraction of the night we miss most of these as well.

There are many rare sights in the sky. But the more time you spend looking up, the more likely you are to see some of them.

Thanks again to everyone who submitted reports of fireballs. Keep sending them in.

About Carl Hergenrother
I am a professional astronomer specializing in the study of comets, asteroids and meteors. This blog will focus on my professional and amateur work in this field

50 Responses to Fireballs over the Scotland/Ireland/England on Sept 20/22

  1. David Forshaw says:

    Re-the third fireball mentioned here. I live in Larkhall, near Hamilton, West of Scotland. I was out walking my dog, about 9:40pm. I looked up and saw a ‘large’ fireball – but I would say it travelled West to East, not East to West as described. It was very large with a long yellow/red trail. Very low in the atmosphere. Definitely not a shooting star.

    Crossed the sky, directly overhead, over a significant period of time… perhaps 5 to 10 seconds.

    Left me very nervous, had it’s trajectory been just a little different…?

  2. chris day says:

    at exactly 21:31hrs GMT Sept 22nd, I observed a large ball of flame which at first glance i thought it was an aircraft that had exploded. The ball of flame had a trial of debris ( white/yellow) bits breaking away from the main ball .
    The angle was at an approximate 45 degrees from my outstretched arm and the ball of flame moved accross the night sky at the same altitude in an west to east position from my location in Accrington, England. I was facing North at the time,ie coming from over blackpool and heading towards leeds
    The brilliance was the same as the as a large firework rocket. .I was able to watch this for about 6 seconds before it dissapeared from view behind the trees and buildings in the area

  3. Lucy says:

    I was flying from Milan to Birmingham Thursday 25th Sept, we were about an hour flying time south of Birmingham over France and I saw what at first looked like a bright light shining into the flight deck. It travelled from North to South paralleling our track it looked as though it was glowing red/orange and had a tail approx 15miles long. We were at 30,000ft and if it had been closer to us I doubt we would have know what had hit us! It wasn’t a shooting star. Neither of us have ever seen anything like this before. What was it a meteor?

  4. Duncan Willoughby says:

    Re: Fireballs on 20th September. I was working in Cheltenham, England and at about 11.30pm and saw a series of fireballs. The first was moving in an East to West direction and was bright orange / yellow around the magnitude of Venus. This was followed by a further three which appeared to be travelling a line abreast in the same direction. Then to my surprise a further two appeared separated by about 30 secs.

    There were no visible trails, but once they were overhead they dimmed substantly.

  5. Brian says:

    I saw a meteor around 9.40pm on Monday 22/9/08 on the outskirts of Strabane Co Tyrone Northern Ireland it had a green/blue head with a white speckle tale. It travelled in a Northwest to Southeast direction for about 10secs and then burned up.

  6. j09t says:

    I also seen this whatever it was moving at great speed with a tail looked cool got a pic of it on my cell phone but can not make anything out only the night sky tried too fix it with a photo editing software prog but can only make out an object with a tail very dim should had filmed it instead but tried a burst shot instead dam it!!!

  7. j09t says:

    forgot to say was in belfast

  8. kat says:

    Spean Bridge – Highlands of Scotland

    Three of us saw what a first we thought was a shooting star but it had a huge fireball at the end. Can’t say which direction it was travelling as we were visiting from Canada and had no sense of direction. Saw it about 9:45 pm on Saturday 21st of September.

  9. Pat Byrne says:

    To Sir/ Madam

    just happened to see what appears to be a fire ball , traveling in a northern direction , @ 5:48 Sun. 16th Nov.(my location) is approx4 miles N.W. of Ardee Co. Louth, Ireland.my discription may not be very good but it looked like a large holloween fire cracke moving in a horizontal direction, with , what appeared to be small sparkles from same, no sound could be heard., its initially appeared to be very close, because of its constrast etc.
    I just told my kids, and with great excitment we ment on the web that’s when we came accoss your web page. Maybe someone else say the same, if so maybe your can pass on comments/ confirmation on its sighting.

  10. Laura says:

    Hi

    I just seen what appears to be a fireball at 21.10pm on /2/12/08. I live in East Kilbride. Not sure what direction it was travelling in though.

    Did anyone else see it?

  11. Laura says:

    East Kilbride is near Glasgow, Scotland btw🙂

  12. Tony Wickham says:

    Initially saw two bright lights over New Forest, Southern England around 6;30 pm on 8th December, followed soon afterwards by a third, much brighter, almost like a balloon on fire. The big one lasted about 40 seconds, all three were moving about the same speed that you see the space station going over, possibly even slower. All three were distinctly orange and travelling north-east.

    I did get pictures, but they look like bright lights!

    Stunning thing to see though, almost scarey!

  13. j. gormanly says:

    tonight 22/ 12/ 2008 18.15pm over dunee scotland i and my partner
    saw 2 glowing red balls with white in the centre, traveling very slowly together side by side at first we thought helicopters, but there was no noise, this lasted for about 60 secs, then at 19.06pm i saw another one come from the same direction, i have seen many fallen stars but they where not, very scarey, actualy i am seeing them on a regular basis in dundee,

  14. SDR says:

    About an hour ago i saw a slow moving very bright light in the sky over Invergordon Scotland heading east to west and then slowly fading away. My mother saw one yesterday same description. Looked orange but could be because some clouds were in the way and it shimmered as well so all i can think of it being is a meteor. Any one else see this tonight. About 23:25ish it was senn.

  15. j. gormanly says:

    hi sdr, i have not seen any since my last post, but the one your describing is what i have seen around 6 times, at very close range, with witnesses, my friend is ex army, and he has never seen anything like it, or me,meteors travel very fast, these things are moving at a very slow rate, nothing much alarms me, al i can say theres nothing right about all this, i am on night shift tonight again, so will keep an eye open, plus this time i will have a video of them, keep us posted

  16. A. Strachan says:

    A huge fireball flew across the sky of Dundee, Scotland UK 2 nights ago, 1st Janaury, 2009 and could I get my camera quick enough! NO!

    Amazing sight, huge and orange but have seen NOTHING reported anywhere as yet?

    Would appreciate any information at all!

    • Carl Hergenrother says:

      Hi A. Strachan,

      I haven’t seen any other reports of this fireball. I’ll keep an eye out for any.

      Thanks,
      – Carl

  17. A. Strachan says:

    Found a video of it on youtube and there are various other reports. I think it must have been a HUGE meteor! It must have been some size it was huge. Travelled noth east to south west over the sky. Amazing sight! Wish I could have got my camera to work😦

  18. Bob L says:

    Hi I also saw a big orange glow in the sky in Dundee at the end of December/ start of January 09. I can only describe this thing as a huge fireball kind of appearance. I think it may have been travelling at some speed although it was hard to tell how high in the sky the object was. It was visible for more than a minute then slowly faded away in the distance heading in an Easterly direction. I found the sighting of this a bit hair raising and Im not easily scared. Bob

  19. Jane says:

    Hi there,

    i live in Stonehouse near Larkhall and continue to see a bright light in the west traveling very slowly to the East. it doesn’t look like a fireball but more like helicopter bright lights, can anyone tell me what it could possibly be it is very strange as it keeps fading away and not just with the clouds.
    Jane

  20. andy says:

    feb 1st 2009,
    approx around 06:45 GMT this morning i saw what looked like the northern lights through dense cloud cover strange thing is that in was to the, soth west of medway towns in south east england it appeard for aroumd 30 sec’s, just womdering if there is anyone else who saw this event, i’v cheaked the web for other sightings but have found none, anyone know why i was able to see this going on even known how it was so cloudy? i remember approx 10min before hand seeing bright flash in the sky ”at frist i thought it it was thunder” could this have been flare tht i noticed the the after affects from what i know the timing seem about right if so…!

  21. John says:

    Hi,
    We live in Orford Warrington, Cheshire UK. I am amazed after reading the comments here about all the ” Fire Ball sightings” that appear to be happening right now. About five weeks ago, say 1st week of january 09, at approx 7.30pm, my wife was walking around the garden to the rear of our home, as she turned round to come back into the house, she spotted what she described as a bright orange, glowing sphere in the sky, traveling south to north as it went by. As she watched it, she explained it appeared to be very low in the sky & very close by, in fact, as she put it, not alot higher than a tree it passed over, about 40/50ft up, she said it was approx the size of a car, maybe bigger, (depending on distance) & was very bright, making no noise as it passed, she also said it appeared to have a dark shadow behind it which was obscured by its brilliance.

    You can imagine, at the time i never really gave it much thought, other than it was probably a metior, or a chinese candle balloon, or something else quite explainable, but now… i am not too sure what to think! did anyone else in the Warrington, Cheshire area see anything like this then, or since? we would be very grateful to hear from you.

  22. John says:

    Hi again,
    Sorry to mislead anybody, but since posting my previous comment, i have just been asked to correct it more precisely. My wife refers to part of her description, ref.. “glowing sphere” i am informed it appeared more like a fairly large, round fireball… no smoke & no trail, i was also asked to add an estimated speed of between 20-40mph, again hard to estimate depending on distance away.

    Thanks again.. John🙂

  23. ian says:

    Did anyone see the UFO’s over Hughenden and Naphill areas in buckinghamshire on Saturday night 28th December…at 11.25 PM?? It was jaw dropping…my daughter was quite frightened too…she videoed the event on her mobile phone… Did anyone else see this… There were 2 large orange Balls of Light flying together….then we saw 2 more bright orange lights, both following the first 2.. We stopped our car at the top of the Naphill hill to watch the UFO’s…then another car stopped to watch as well…a couple from Terrick, bucks also witnessed the UFO’s..
    The UFO’s looked like bright orange fireballs…no noise at all…no flashing lights…just constant glows.. Did anyone else see this or can explain the lights…
    With best regards

    Ian Field

  24. Derek Collier says:

    I am not sure what it was, but last night around 8 o’clock on the 15th of March 2009 I went outside looked up into the sky and saw a very bright looking star. It was for a moment the brightest thing in the sky. It didn’t move but then just disapeared. There were no thick clouds only a very fine layer which made the star look as if I was looking at it through mist. This star or what ever it was didn’t appear again although I stood for ten minutes waiting to see it again.

  25. alison says:

    a strange orange (like a fireball) going at some speed in they sky over larkhall lanarkshire at approx 8.20pm on the 21st of march it was witnessed by my neighbours and myself and husband. did anyone else see it

  26. alison says:

    so sorry forgot to say my neighbour witness three fireballs before shouting on me to come and look

  27. Lynn Gardener says:

    Lynn Gardener – April 19, 2009

    My Mum & I witnessed a possible display of fireballs in the sky over Penketh Warrington on the above date. It was exactly 9.00pm so it was not dark, I saw 4 altogether but 1 was on its own well ahead of the later 3. I thought it was a plane at first but then realised it was not taking a flightpath route & there were no flashing lights for landing. I noticed it dimming & then disappear completely. The other 3 did the same, there was no noise in the sky but we both did smell burning. These were round orange balls of fire, we both saw them all shimmering as if there were flames all around the object. Fascinating to watch but also kind of scary too, they did not travel very fast either almost like they wanted to be seen & they were not very high in the sky. Never heard of these before but stumbled on this website by pure accident through the Yahoo search engine.

  28. mick says:

    about 10:40pm (3 and a half hours ago) i saw i big green or blue light beam a cross the sky where i live in northumberland england. i thought it was a comet or asteroid but couldnt find anything about one passing and it was too big, bright and fast to be a plane. can any one tell me what it was

  29. EMILOU says:

    I HAD A SIMULAR EXPERIENCE LAST NIGHT AS IAN ON 28TH DEC 2008 HAS BUT THESE WERE BIG FIREBALLS .
    THERE WERE 8 OF THEM THEY CAME 1 BY 1 OVER THE ROOF TOPS AS I RAN FROM THE FRONT TO THE BACKGARDEN THEY WERE BIG AND BRIGHT ORANGE BUT THE ONLY DIFFERENCE IS YOU COULD HEAR A SONIC BOOM AS IF THEY WERE BURNING INTO THE EARTH’S ATMOSPHERE AND DISAPPEARED AS THEY HIT JUST BEFORE THE HORIZON AND THE SKY WAS ALSO A BRIGHT ORANGE COLOUR TOO??????? COULD YOU HELP PUT MY MIND AT EASE YOUR HELP WOULD REALLY BE APPRECIATED

  30. emilou says:

    these fireballs i witnessed last night 14 june 2009 @11:30pm and had no trails they just looked like big balls of fire

    • Carl Hergenrother says:

      Hi Emilou,

      How long did the fireball display last? Were you able to see all 8 fireballs at the same time? If so, the best explanation is a large fireball that broke into 8 pieces. Such a brilliant display should have been seen by others and I will be on the lookout for other reports.

      As close as they might have appeared to be, they were probably located at a height of 20+ km. Most meteors and fireballs burn out high in the atmosphere. Since it was located low on the horizon, it was also probably 100+ km away from you.

      The sonic boom is interesting. Did you hear it at the same time you saw the fireballs or minutes later?

      Though fireballs like these are rare to see, they happen multiple times a day somewhere in the world. So it is really nothing to worry about though they can be startling.

      I’m glad you got to see it and thanks for writing,
      – Carl

  31. Anthony J Cheshire says:

    Hi everyone I am amazed having just searched fire ball in the sky on the web to find so many sightings!!! It is Sat 20th June 2009 at 11.15pm in Chapelford Warrington (Over Old RAF Burtonwood) and I have just watched what I can only describe as a ball on fire in the sky travelling east to west at a steady course and speed. It was strange but amazing I shouted my wife and she also witnessed it and then it just dissapered into the sky my wife also noticed strange cloud formations too.

    How spooky but good too see I am not alone !!!

  32. Jo Johnston says:

    June 28th – Deal, Kent (SE England). Last night at approx 9:45 I witness 3 ‘fireballs’ travelling West to East, not particularly fast, but very bright orange , no tails. One was slightly ahead of the other 2 and faded before the other 2 – the other 2 were side-by-side. They didn’t last long, maybe 30-45 secs. Never see anything like it, but after a quick search on the net, found this page.

  33. Merv Rochester and Denise says:

    August 8, 2009. At 11.45 pm Bournemouth, Dorset, UK. My partner and I were sitting in our back garden when we saw a large slow moving orange/red round object travel slowly across the sky from north to south. We’re used to seeing shooting stars and satellites as we have a hot tub and frequently see these at night including large objects like the space station. This was none of these. It looked like a burning meteriote. It had no tail and was travelling below the cloud base which I estimate was less than 5000 feet high. We watched it for about 60 seconds and it appeared to be travelling really slowly. There was nearly a full moon and the clouds were clear to see with patches of clear sky. This was definately below the cloud level. We kept looking after it had passed speculating what it could be. Then within about two minutes we saw three white flashing lights in a triangle formation travelling really fast and they were above the cloud level. We had seen some stars peeking through the clouds and they looked exactly the same as a star but they were flashing white and travelling fast. They came from a north west direction and followed the exact direction that the “fireball” had travelled. Strangely although it was a very still night and very quiet we could not hear any sound. Difficult to estimate their height but above cloud level. I can’t explain why we didn’t hear any engine noise if they were aircraft as they were so fast. They appeared to be gaining on the burning object judging by their speed. We’ve never seen anything like this before.We presume this was a burning meteorite that had been picked up on radar and the three lights were military tracking aircraft monitoring it. Still can’t explain the incredible speed of the three flashing lights and the total lack of noise. Really spectacular!

  34. weird says:

    just seen 2 of these an hour ago

    weird shit

  35. weird says:

    ooo yeyeye im in dundee scotland

  36. Helen Loveman says:

    On the evening of the 17th September 2009, I was in the back garden waiting for my dog and looked up in the sky, I saw what I thought was a flare going up in the sky, but it didn’t stop it kept going up and then I realised it was coming towards me. It kept travelling across the sky and I called my husband to look out of the window and he saw it as well, it was a ball of flame and seemed to spit, like plastic on fire. I was worried that it may be a plane on fire, but it wasn’t following the plane route although it did seem to come from the direction of one airport and go off in the direction of another airport. It also seemed to change direction over my house!!

  37. Allan says:

    just saw an orange ball in the sky about half an hour ago. It was moving at a steady pace. Too low for a sattelite (never seen an orange one) and too high for a chinese lantern. Watched it for a couple of minutes until it seemed to stop, taking it’s place in the sky like some orange star. I’ve seen lanterns, sattelites, planes etc before and this was none of the afore mentioned. It was moving in what seemed a straight line, with no change in direction…until it stopped! Perhaps when it stopped it was quite simply moving away in a linear direction to my eye? If this was the case, surely it would have become smaller and dimmer…not in this case! It just stayed there! with the same brightness and size.After a further 10 minuites I carried on my way home. Location : MaryHill, Glasgow. Time : approx 23:50.

  38. Freda says:

    October 6th, 2009
    7.10pm Leeds, Belle Isle area on my way home saw a large fireball low in the sky going from west to east proceeding over fields & Hunslet cemetary near the M1 motorway. It was very low & travelling very slowly definately not an aircraft as there was no noise & it seemed to be spitting out sparks & kind of dripping what looked to be like molten metal. As it moved away it looked like it was burning out but maybe it just disappeared into cloud as it was a very cloudy & wet night. I never believed in UFO’s & do not think this was one so I was glad to find a site were others had seen the same object & I was not going senile in my old age I must say I feel rather privileged to have seen this phenomenon it was rather beautiful like a big moving sun in the night sky

  39. Freda says:

    October 8th 2009
    Yet another sighting over Belle Isle area Leeds This time very different & also seen by 3 of my neighbours & another friend who lives in Hunslet Approx 8pm Three smaller glowing white lights in a triangle formation moving again west to east but kept stopping & just hovering over the street before continuing out of sight these were joined by another one which then turned & went off at speed back in a westerly direction Can anyone explain what these could be we would be interested to know.

  40. Kayleigh Brown says:

    I’ve just seen a fireball in Hartlepool, North East England. It was around 11pm in the sky towards the west. At first I thought it might have been Mars (it was a dark orange/red glow) and then it started moving at quite a rapid but steady pace in a northerly direction, moving further and further away until it was only a spec of light in the distance. My friend said it looked like something had fallen from it making us think it may have been some kind of shuttle launch from America (because of it being in the west). It was kind of scary not knowing what it was as it must have been quite close to be so big! Any information will be appreciated! Thanks.

  41. Chris pickford says:

    At approx 7.10pm on weds 10th march 2010 I observed at least two dozen fireballs/comets travelling in a southerly direction over Blackpool. It was an amazing sight and they were very low in the night sky

  42. paul nicol says:

    on 24 august 2010 at 9.35pm i saw three fireballs traveling in a easterly direction over inverkeithing fife scotland.it was quite a sight something i have never seen before.did anyone else from this area see them.

  43. stevo g says:

    hi, last night (25th sept 2010) i saw a fire ball in the sky but it wasnt moving. I thought it was the north star but it was to big and bright to be a star. It stood out to much. I stopped the car to look at it and it differently was not moving across the sky. I drove on and on my way home, about 15mins later it was gone. What was it? Did any one else see it? I live in antrim, n.ireland. I would love to hear if any one else seen it.

  44. Calvin says:

    I was lying in my bed that’s right next to the window and I was messing with my I pod and I looked out my window and saw a fire ball moving very very slowly and really low it wad so big it went straight over my house and I watch it as i was watching it a second one appeared it was a bit bigger and both slowly moved away from my house my dad got the binoculars and said he saw a flame but dats it this occured between 23:30 – 23:40 in Limerick city Ireland

  45. Teresa Byrne says:

    hi there, i also spotted a fire ball in the sky over county carlow ireland during september, probably mid way through the month. It was a very bright object much bigger than any star and brighter. it travelled quite fast from south west to north east direction about 11pm. people tell me it was probably a chinese lantern but was travelling to fast and steady and was much brighter.

  46. paul payne says:

    Saw 2 very bright green fireballs/meteors during this last week. Latest on my drive to work 01Nov on the m77 glasgow to prestwick at 0530. Very dark clear sky lead to a magnificent sight-it almost lit the whole sky up it was so bright!

  47. ella says:

    I have just seen 15 minutes ago from my bedroom window in belle isle Leeds a fireball looked almost like a firework that was dying out but bigger. Ran downstairs to tell my boyfriend by which point it had gone and he obviously thinks I’m crazy. Definately saw it though, was teavelling east to west.

  48. ella says:

    It was roughly 12.30am.

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