Observatory receives reports of meteorite in skies above town

Stock photo of a meteorite.
Stock photo of a meteorite.

Reports have just emerged of what could have been a fireball in the skies over Lurgan in the past fortnight.

Armagh Observatory received a number of reports of a flaming meteorite on the night of Wednesday, January 15. The suspected meteorite was reported by people in Lurgan, Donaghcloney and Moira as well as Banbridge, Belfast and Dublin.

Armagh Observatory were contacted by a number of members of the public reporting sightings of the glowing meteorite, which can be viewed via its website.

A report from Donaghcloney at 6.44pm said: “An orange fireball in the east, travelling roughly south to north, about 35 to 40 degrees above the horizon.

“Became white before splitting in two, then became orange again and burst into four or five pieces and disappeared.

“It was very bright, travelled almost horizontally from my viewpoint and traversed roughly a 45 degree arc of sky. In view for about three or four seconds I think. Easily as bright as Jupiter, maybe brighter.”

Another person from Lurgan who saw the skies lit up between 6.30pm and 6.50pm said: “Shooting star then burnt out with orange flames which lasted only a few seconds as seemed to break up. Was very low in sky as it disappeared behind houses.”

The meteorite was also spotted over Lough Neagh between 6.30pm and 7pm by someone who said: “I was outside looking across the lough when I spotted what I thought was an airplane coming across from the airport. I soon realised that it was going too fast and at a sharp angle. After about three seconds it started to break up into two larger pieces and then into smaller bits. Then it disappeared. It was a beautiful sight.”

In Moira, the following report was made to the Observatory at 6.50pm: “A fast moving ball of light with a tail in the sky to the South East moving in an easterly direction. Tried to get binoculars, but it had disappeared by the time I lifted them to my eyes. I had been looking at Jupiter at the time and I would say it appeared bigger and brighter than Jupiter appeared last night. I heard no sound.”