At 20:31 UT on September 22-23, a brilliant fireball, estimated as brighter than full Moon by several witnesses, appeared over northern Britain. Reports have reached the SPA so far from twelve sites from near Newburgh on the coast north of Aberdeen, south to Accrington in Lancashire, and west as far as Co Antrim in Northern Ireland. Suggestions are the object peaked perhaps in the range magnitudes -14 to -18, lighting up the whole sky from some places, as the very slow-moving meteor crossed on a general westerly to easterly track, probably across southern Scotland and perhaps the far north of England. The fireball was visible for around 5 or 6 seconds judging by the better estimates, with colours suggested as orange-yellow for the head of the object, and a blue-green tail following. Several people saw it fragment, maybe into 3 or 4 pieces, towards its end, and it may have left a persistent train for some seconds too. There was one report of simultaneous sounds which may have been associated with the event, but curiously this was from one of the most distant observers. No other reports of sounds simultaneous or some time later (due to normal sound waves from a sonic boom) have yet come through. Further details to try to refine the possible track are still being sought from the lucky observers. Thanks are due especially to the witnesses, and Darren Moody, President of Aberdeen AS, for rounding-up and forwarding many of the Scottish sightings.
Anyone else who spotted this event, or any other fireballs - meteors of magnitude -3 or brighter - from the British Isles or nearby is welcome to send a full report to the Meteor Section as soon as possible. The minimum details I need from you are:
1) Exactly where you were (name of the nearest town or large village and county if in Britain, or your geographic latitude and longitude if elsewhere in the world);
2) The date and timing of the event (please be sure to state whether this was in clock time, currently BST in Britain, or GMT/UT, which is BST minus one hour); and
3) Where the fireball started and ended in the sky, as accurately as possible, or where the first and last points you could see of the trail were if you didn't see the whole flight.
More advice and a fuller set of details to send are outlined on the "Fireball Observing" page of the SPA website, at: http://www.popastro.com/sections/meteor/fireball.htm
Meteor Director, Society for Popular Astronomy.
E-mail: <email@example.com> (messages under 150 kB in size only, please)