Scientists say the fireball that lit up Britain’s skies on Sunday night is likely to have been a small piece of an asteroid entering the Earth’s atmosphere. The meteor was spotted shortly before 10pm. The UK Fireball Alliance (UKFall) said that although the meteor fragmented in the atmosphere, it is likely that it left “a few fragments” on the ground.
They have refined the trajectory of the meteor and believe it landed somewhere between Swindon Village and Bourton-on-the-Hill. This includes Bishop’s Cleeve, Winchcombe, Prestbury, Stanway and Temple Guiting.
Residents of these areas are being urged to contact the UK Meteor Network or National History Museum if they find any fragments of the object.
Dr Katherine Joy from the University of Manchester said: “If you do find a meteorite on the ground, ideally photograph it in place, note the location using your phone GPS, don’t touch it with a magnet, and, if you can, avoid touching it with your hands.”
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Experts are also warning people not to travel to this area to find fragments due to the lockdown restrictions.
According to the scientists from UKFall, which is led by staff at the Natural History Museum, the bright light could be seen all the way from Ireland to the Netherlands.
Sam Harris, 28, from Leeds, said he was in bed talking to his fiancée when he witnessed the “breathtaking” fireball.
UKFall’s Dr Ashley King said: “The video recordings tell us its speed was about 30,000 miles per hour, which is too fast for it to be human-made ‘space junk’, so it’s not an old rocket or satellite.
“The videos also allowed us to reconstruct its original orbit around the sun. In this case, the orbit was like an asteroid’s.
“This particular piece of asteroid spent most of its orbit between Mars and Jupiter, though sometimes got closer to the Sun than Earth is.”