'Giant meteors' rain over the UK

Image caption,
Some witnesses said the meteor had a "massive tail"

People throughout the UK have reported seeing giant meteors showering the darkened skies.

The BBC was first contacted by eyewitnesses in Glasgow, Scotlandwell and Durness who said they saw the light display at about 0540 GMT.

Then stargazers from Bury, Monmouth and Kidderminster emailed to say they saw a meteor at about 1715 GMT.

It is thought the spectacle is part of the annual Taurids shower, lasting from October into November.

The early morning meteor is reported to have broken into a number of pieces and it left bright streaks of light in the sky.

Douglas Thornton, from Scotlandwell, spotted it.

He said: "It was an off-white light with a massive tail behind it... A phenomenal sight."

Mr Thornton was on his way to Edinburgh Airport when he spotted the meteor while driving.

He told the BBC Scotland News website: "You can see shooting stars every night up where we are, but this was the most enormous streak of light. Enough to back-light the clouds and make them flicker.

"It was moving at an enormous speed. I first saw it in the direction of Auchterarder and by the time I lost sight of it about two seconds later, it was around the Dundee area."

David Wood, said he had just left Durness, on the north coast of Scotland and was heading south towards Kinlochberbie when he saw a "bright green, fairly jagged looking, object in the sky".

He said: "It had a very short, but very bright yellow and red trail behind it. It could have only been a few hundred meters above the ground.

"After my initial view I slowed the car and it broke in two. The larger piece eventually broke up into four smaller pieces which then dissipated into the darkness."

Philip Shaw, from Kidderminster in Worcestershire, said he spotted a "bluish trail travelling across the sky from east to west" at about 1715 GMT on Monday.

He added: "I was driving from Droitwich to Kidderminster - a long way from Glasgow.

"When I got home my wife said she had also seen a yellowish flash at about the same time, but from where she saw it I cannot be sure it was the same as the one I saw."

A similar meteor was seen last week by astronomy expert John Braithwaite while travelling back from giving a presentation to schoolchildren in Dundee - about meteorites.

Mr Braithwaite, who builds astronomical telescopes, said the meteor he spotted with his friend Jared Earle in the early hours of 12 November had been "80 to 90 times brighter" than anything else in the sky.

'Grain of sand'

"There was a very pronounced and bright head to the meteor, which was deep blue at the centre with a green fringe around it," he said.

"They're both probably part of a meteor shower which appears from between mid-October and November every year."

Dr Martin Hendry, from Glasgow University's astronomy department, said: "It certainly sounds possible that it's a meteor of some sort.

"From the descriptions of it being very bright and breaking up, it may have been somewhat larger than normal meteors.

"But even a grain of sand can produce the 'shooting stars' we see - very small objects indeed. It would not need to be that much bigger."

Dr Hendry, a fellow with the Science and Technology Facilities Council, said the different colours could have been a reflection of the different chemical compounds in the meteor.

He said it was possible the meteor reached earth, but that it would be difficult to pinpoint exactly where without precise compass bearings from the people who saw the object.


At 5.40am saw huge, bright green light travelling East over Methven area, Seemed to be at the same level as road I was driving on, but on opposite side of the valley. Disappeared after few seconds, but very close and bright green.

From: Sheena, Perth

I had heard this report on the 5 oclock news on Radio Scotland this evening about ten minutes before I saw something. Basically I was driving south on the A9 and had crossed the Cromarty bridge when above Culbokie I saw a streak of white light cross the sky towards the Beauly area. It appeared to be very high and was moving extremely fast, much faster than even the fighter jets we see in this area. Initial thoughts were that it was a firework but I am more convinced it is not after looking at the picture of this mornings Meteor as that is exactly the type of thing i saw!!

From: Will, Culloden

I was leaving for work when I noticed the meteor passing from south to north. It was bright white/yellow and left a trail of sparks behind it. It seemed to move slowly compared to most other meteors I have seen. Very impressive!

From: Brian, Bridge of Earn, Perth

Travelling Peterhead to Aberdeen, when it suddenly lit up the southern sky at around 05:40. Appeared to cross over Ellon and continue North towards Inverness, breaking into three or four pieces which cooled quickly as they fell. Simply breath-taking. Never seen anything like it.

From: Allan, Boddam, Aberdeenshire

Tonight at around 5pm I was driving down the m90 just passed Kinross a bright ball of light shot past in the sky (couple of seconds max) I too thought it was a firework at first but it was so BRIGHT! - the most amazing sight

From: Randa, Dunfermline, Fife

Driving NE on the A41 (Shropshire) at roughly 17:15, saw a very bright shooting star moving from the East to North. It was bright and clear even though oncoming car headlights were in my eyes. Made a big wish !

From: Charlie, Newport, Shropshire

Pretty much as described by the chap from Scotlandwell, it seemed to be coming across from south to north & was by far the most extraordinary sight I have ever seen in the sky. I was fortunate enough to be out walking on this very frosty morning. I have seen many "shooting stars" before but this was very bright & seemed to be very low in the sky & extremely fast.

From: Donald, Inverness Scotland

I saw it around 740 am and it was huge in the sky, at first i thought it was a plane as it was so far away, it looked like it was coming in a diagonal direction. Good sight.

From: Ryan, Moffat, Scotland

I saw it on Monday afternoon when heading south on the Tay Road Bridge. Initially I saw one heading west and then I saw a second smaller one heading towards Leuchars which could only have been a few 100 meters above the ground. I thought it might have been a firework from the light green colouration but they were far too fast and high up.

From: Sarah, St Andrews

I was coming to the end of a night shift in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, when, at about 5.30 am, I noticed a very large, bright white light streaking across the sky, with what looked like a flame coloured tail behind it. We watched for a few moments then it disappeared into the distance.

From: Michael Morrice, Kilmarnock

Sitting looking west out of our patio doors at around 05:40 this morning, I saw a bright white-ish streak coming from roughly south west, crossing from left to right and disappearing over the horizon in the general direction of Perth. It was an exceptionally clear sky. It grew larger when almost immediately due west, turning a deep orange in colour and with a pronounced tail. It then seemed to become whiter again but still with a tail as it headed towards the horizon. It's the first time I've seen anything so large or bright in the sky and it certainly looked like a meteor. I never saw any obvious sections breaking off but there was obviously some sort of activity during the period when it became orange and seemed to grow in size.

From: Matt, Linlithgow

I too saw a meteor at around 0500UTC/15-11-2010. Turned and saw the last 5 seconds or so. Red'ish with a fragmenting tail. It was in the western sky, heading north. Very bright compared to any shooting star I've ever seen. But I'm no expert, so difficult to give an estimated magnitude. Personal reaction was, what the hell was that? Was an amazing site, unlike anything I've ever seen before. Felt privileged to have seen it. Insomnia has its benefits sometimes!

From: Shaun, Taunton, Somerset

When driving down m77 at kilmarnock ,very large bright blue white light on the right hand side ,headed out towards ailsa craig left a smoke trail in the sky.

From: Ben, Wishaw

I saw the meteor streaking across the sky around 5.15 pm from east to west as I travelled down the M74 approx 20 miles south of Hamilton. It was very bright and appeared to be heading down towards the eart rather than up like a rocket. As good as a Christmas present!

From: Paul, Moniaive, Dumfries

Whilst out walking the dogs last night (sun) 6.20pm i noticed a very bright orange light just above the light patchy cloud it was travelling quickly from east to west and i would say it looked to be travelling over longriggend somewhere when it just disappeared . thought it was a chinese lantern at first but it was moving far too quickly to be a lantern and far too bright . was it part of a meteor storm or could it have been a reflection of the grangmouth refinery flames?

From: Chris, Cumbernauld

When leaving for work at 0540 in the Parkhead area of Glasgow i saw what looked like a meteor (like you see in the films) coming from the direction of the new velodrome and flying very low over Celtic Park. I didn't tell anyone about it until i read this article incase they thought i was mad! I'm just sorry i didn't get a picture of this once in a lifetime experience.

From: Stuart, Glasgow

I was in Preswick Airport car park this morning when both my friend and I saw the meteor, from the car park we were facing back towards Glasgow. It was quite low in the sky and travelling from left to right, It was very much ablaze with flaming fragments falling from it. It gave the impression of great size, i.e. many times larger than an airliner.

From: Tony, Glasgow

I saw ball of fire around 5.40am on Monday 15th November 2010 whilst travelling north over the River Clyde. My view of it was very clear as it was visible over the the north west area if the city. I can only describe it as a large ball of orange fire with a burning tail. My initial thought was that of a burning jet liner but thankfully it wasn't.

From: Hamish, Glasgow

I saw a bluish trail travel across the sky from east to west as I was driving from Droitwich to Kidderminster ( a long way from Glasgow!) this evening at about 1715. When I got home my wife said she had also seen a yellowish flash at about the same time but from where she saw it I cannot be sure it was the same as the one I saw.

From: Philip, Kidderminster, Worcestershire

At 17:05 - 17:10 I saw a massive meteorite dropping over in the West towards Liverpool, it was a bright green ball and tail, biggest that i have ever seen.

From: Gordon, Northwich

It appeared over Coatbridge bright green then an orange tail shot out then it flew towards the campsies

From: Brian, Airdrie

I was outside, near Aviemore, de-icing the car at around 5.45am and conditions were exceptionally clear. I stopped to admire the starry sky when my attention was drawn to an unusually bright object. It was travelling from south to north, across the western sky. It was not the usual type of meteor, that normally appears as a streak of white light, over in a second or two. This was a large fiery red and yellow object, with small fragments breaking off like sparks. I initially thought that I was witnessing an aircraft disaster and was expecting it to explode at any moment, but it kept on going, finally breaking up into at least three large yellow fragments and disappearing behind the hills to the north of me. Very impressive.

From: Ron, Aviemore

Whilst walking my dog this morning, I saw the meteorite above Drumnadrochit, travelling roughly south to north, I have never seen anything like it, it was like a large firework rocket, travelling horizontally across the sky.

From: David, Drumnadrochit

I was walking my dog early this morning when I saw the meteor although at the time I just didn't know what it was. It passed over Loch Insh around 5.30am heading in a direction from the Cairngorms towards the Monadliath - the meteor was moving fast and was a vivid circular white light but it was completely silent which was really eerie. It was quite large and seemed to be very low in the sky at the point it passed me.

From: Sue in Kingussie

I was driving to work this morning through a place called Fallin in Stirling when over towards Forthbank Stadium above in the sky I saw a huge ball of light with a streak of flame behind it at first i thought it was a plane crashing that's how big it was it disappeared over then Ochil hills and seemed to burn up and break up into smaller pieces.

From: Keith, Stirling

I have just got from a walk and about 17.15 I saw the biggest meteor I have ever seen. it came from the east heading north. It was so big it looked like a rocket firework going horizontally across the sky. Fantastic!

From: Geoff, Monmouth, Wales

I saw the meteor this morning when I was travelling north on the M74 at Blackwood, it was the best show that i have seen in years. As a HGV night trunk driver driving to Warringing to and back five nights a week i have seen many shooting stars and meteor storms. Last night i seen a shooting star over Lancaster but the meteor over Glasgow was something else at first i thought it was an aircraft just because of the shear size of it.

From: Paul, Blantyre

I saw today most probabaly meteor around 17:15pm, it looked like very bright quick fireworks ball (that was my first thought shortly after bonfire night) but fireworks go up and down and make noise and this one was big and fast and running along the earth atmosphere. It was quite big because it made impression as it would be no higher than 1km.

From: Milosz, Bury

At approx 1715, my neighbour and i were outside talking, when this huge bright light with a orange and white tail went over us and it was really low it was amazing.......

From: Sharon, Radcliffe, Manchester

I have just got from a walk and about 17.15 I saw the biggest meteor I have ever seen. it came from the east heading north. It was so big it looked like a rocket firework going horizontally across the sky. Fantastic!

From: Geoff, Monmouth, Wales

Driving out from Glasgow this morning at 5.40 at Blanefield i saw which i could only explain as a trail of light about 10 to 15 feet long, travelling horizontally about 2-3hundred feet above me travelling left to right and lost sight of it, as it went over the Campsie hills.Couldnt believe my eyes as i've never seen anything like it before.

From: Graham, Balfron, Glasgow

I saw a bright green light falling through the sky at around 5.30pm tonight. It had a large pear shaped body with a tail behind it. I only saw it for about one to two seconds.

From: Simon, Wootton Wawen, Warwickshire

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