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Meteor spotted in Cumbrian sky

A spectacular giant meteor lit up the sky over Cumbria on Saturday night.

Police and Coastguard received calls from worried members of the public who reported seeing a fireball with a tail and thought it might be a ship’s distress signal or even a plane about to crash.

Despite patchy cloud cover, there were sightings from Wigton down the Cumbrian coast to Morecambe Bay, in Penrith and Keswick, and by drivers on the M6.

This footage was captured on a camera in the north east at 9.40pm

Eyewitnesses included Emma Tomkinson, 32, who saw it near her home in Voreda Park, Penrith, with her mum Mandy Ruby and sister Hayley Ruby.

She said: “It was like a fireball. It was a substantial size, with a tail, moving across the sky from east to west.

“It was amazing to see. I’ve never seen anything like it before.

“My sister spotted it first. She thought it was a shooting star but my mum said it was a meteor. We were in the car and pulled over and got out to watch it.”

The meteor passing over Whitley Bay. Article continues below...

All the sightings were around 9.45pm.

The meteor broke up after streaking across the sky for more than 30 seconds.

Cumbria police reassured callers they were not watching a disaster unfold.

Detective Constable Andy McCourt, based in Workington, said: “We received lots of phone calls describing something with a long fiery tail going through the sky at a rate of knots.

“Some people assumed it was a plane going down.”

The meteor was seen across the north of England, as far south as Peterborough, and in south west Scotland where Dumfries and Galloway police received reports of a “large ball of fire in the sky”.

A spokesman for Liverpool Coastguard said: “It was seen right up the coast from north Wales to the Solway Firth. We had many calls about it.”

Eyewitnesses posted messages on Twitter and put video footage on the internet, with even Chief Constable Stuart Hyde Tweeting “Glad Armageddon postponed tonight”.

Some reports suggested there was a large meteor followed by a series of smaller ones. Meteors are chunks of space debris that can strike the Earth’s atmosphere at any time. They vaporise due to friction with the atmosphere, creating a spectacular streak across the night sky.

Have your say

just found this website, comments and video clips most wife and i saw the 'meteor' from our house on the Solway, it was moving relatively slowly as we had time to rush out and watch it disappear over the Irish sea. i was initially concerned that Armeggedon had come,the size and the sight of it breaking up was like something from a sci-fi film.Talking to my friend next door(an amatuer astronomer) we are both of the opinion, due to its trajectory and speed,that it was man made debris rather than a celestial object,whatever it was a truly exciting experience.

Posted by g walker on 23 February 2015 at 14:21

I also saw it when i was in the garden putting out the rubbish on saturday 03/03 at 21:40 , it was flying over Bampton nr Haweswater. At first i thought it was a plane on fire but as it got closer i realised it was'nt as it was silent & travelling at an amazing speed & quite low to the ground (about 100ft), there was a bright white light at the front of it with a long orange flame tailing it.An amazing sight i & the girlfriend will never forget.

Posted by Tony Bainbridge on 10 March 2012 at 07:49

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