Many of the commenters at EarthSky.org tonight are reporting a “giant meteor” visible in the skies over the UK. The comments are appearing mostly on our post about the planet Mars, which is at its best and brightest tonight. If you saw the meteor, you can report it at the American Meteor Society’s website. You can also view meteor sightings there. There is no particular major meteor shower going on at this time. Also, meteors are not comets. They are usually chunks of space debris that can strike Earth’s atmosphere at any time. They vaporize due to friction with the air, creating the spectacular streak across the night sky.
RunnerWhoRuns2 uploaded the video below to YouTube on Mar 3, 2012, calling it, “amazing footage of a huge meteor that was spotted across large parts of the UK around 21:40 on the 3rd of march 2012.”
Meanwhile, here at EarthSky.org, Emma McCann said:
Just seen a meteor, has anyone else seen it ?!!!!
Yes, in scotland
Andy & Sara said:
Yes. We saw it pass over our house in North Yorkshire…it was huge! Never experienced anything like it before.
Ian Southwood said:
Can anyone identify the meteor or comet which has just passed east to west over /shaw greater manchester at aprox 2145
Victoria Ferguson said:
My freind and me have just seen it aswel we r in loch lomond Scotland it was amazin x
Ian, Limekilns said:
I saw the meteor, or comet over Limekilns fife at about same time
It passed the west coast of Scotland, Argyll, at 21.37
Seen it in Ardross, Alness, IV17 just before half past 9.
The Kielder Observatory also reported the sighting of a ‘huge fireball’ traveling from north to south over Northumberland, and is still talking about this event on its website. The Observatory posted on Twitter: ‘Of 30 years observing the sky, fireball best thing I have ever seen period.’
Bottom line: Many in the UK saw a bright meteor – or shooting star – streak across the night sky on March 3, 2012. It is not a comet. It is likely a chunk of debris that struck Earth’s atmosphere and vaporized due to friction with the air.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.