Mysterious fireball lights up sky above Scotland

Posted at 1:04 PM, Mar 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-01 16:24:23-05

SCOTLAND – A bright glowing object, believed to be a meteor, flashed through the atmosphere above northeast Scotland on Monday night, lighting the night sky and startling residents.

Footage captured on a dashboard camera by Scottish driving instructor Bill Addison showed a bright blue fireball hurtling through the cloudy sky, briefly illuminating the landscape as if it were day.

“I was driving along the road and there was a huge big flash of blue light,” he told CNN. “The sky totally lit up. It was like a missile.”

Startled social media users took to Twitter to report seeing the suspected meteor, saying it caused a loud boom as well.

“Anyone else see that meteor and hear the boom about an hour ago? Scared the kids to death,” wrote Twitter user Tim Rogers, who lives in the Scottish Highlands.

Robert Massey, deputy executive director for the Royal Astronomical Society, said he had seen the footage and believed the object could have been a low-altitude meteor, burning into a “fireball.”

“Certainly the fact that there were reports of sound connected to it as well is interesting,” he said.

Meteors, caused when rocky or metallic space objects enter Earth’s atmosphere, are not uncommon, he said.

“It’s just the odds of being in the right place at the right time to see it are low.

“If people did see it and it was something like an incoming low-altitude meteor, they can consider themselves lucky,” Massey said.

Addison said his first reaction on seeing the object was that it could have been a plane coming down, but on reviewing the footage, he was certain it was a meteor. “It was really, really lucky,” he said of his inadvertent filming of the object.

The UK’s Met Office confirmed the event was not weather-related, and no thunderstorms were recorded in the area Monday night.