Loud booms and sights of a “fireball” were reported in Scotland last night, but fret not. This was likely just a meteor burning up in the atmosphere, and not the end of the world.
The bright streak was seen on Monday evening across Scotland, with most reports and footage coming from Aberdeenshire in the northeast. A spokesperson from Police Scotland told The Guardian that they began receiving calls at around 6.55 p.m. local time, adding that police departments in the south and as far north as Inverness also received calls.
“One told us the sky had been lit up with an object like a fireball. Another caller said there was a very loud bang and others said the house shook,” she said.
“We have checked and been told it was likely to be a meteor shower.”
You can see the fireball in the video below.
Fortunately, fears of a fiery Scottish apocalypse look like they might be unfounded. Experts have concurred that the strange occurrence was most likely to be a meteor.
Professor Sara Russell, Head of the Division of Mineral and Planetary Sciences at the Natural History Museum, explained in an emailed statement: “It's entirely plausible that this may be a fireball caused by a fragment of an asteroid hitting the Earth's atmosphere, similar to the event observed over Chelyabinsk, Russia in 2013.”
She added: “The rumbling noises heard indicate that the fireball was fairly local; if it was far away then no sounds would have been heard. The object may have burned up in the atmosphere, or may have resulted in the meteorite landing on the surface of the Earth, perhaps into the sea. By collating all the eye witness reports it will be possible to determine the direction of the fireball and constrain possible fall areas.”
Then again, other theories are out there. Jackie Hendry, local politician for the SNP, tweeted: “Did anyone else see that big white flash in the sky about 20 minutes ago? (Coming into Inverness on A96).... I reckon it was Tim Peake.”