Last night, the UK Meteor Network revealed that they received 200 reports about a “fireball” meteor, with reports mostly coming from Scotland but some sightings in England and Ireland as well. People have taken to social media to report sightings of the meteor. Meanwhile, others have tried to draw a connection between the suspected fireball and Queen Elizabeth II, who lay in state at Westminister last night, while thousands queued for hours to pay their respects.
Twitter user @dansinker wrote: “Definitely seems like an enormous green light falling from the sky as the queen lies in state and a new king is crowned is the kind of thing that would have led to bloodshed in ancient times.”
A video showed the meteor as a bright green fireball streaking across the skies of Scotland while people across Britain took to social media to report a large object in the sky, with witnesses claiming it made a noise that sounded like a bang.
Some witnesses have claimed the object was “so low you could hear it” and other people have reported a loud bang as the meteor flew past.
Earlier today, the UK meteor Network clarified that the object may actually not be a meteor by rather space debris, based on the trajectory calculated by scientists.
They tweeted: “There have been nearly 800 reports of the fireball that was seen over the UK last night. The preliminary trajectory has been calculated by the IMO and indicates that the object, which we now believe to be space debris, would have landed in the Atlantic south of the Hebrides.”
While some linked the suspected meteor to the Queen, another user pointed out its similarities to the incredible moment a double rainbow appeared over Buckingham Palace in the minutes after her death was announced.
Support for the Royal Family, and the new king Charles III, poured in following her death, with some of those gathered outside the Palace welcoming the rainbow as Her Majesty’s final bow to the country.
Twitter user @ColeysMrs commented: “Double rainbow. God bless the Queen.”
@m1872C added: “Long live the Queen.”
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Astronomers from the UK Meteor Network noted that the fireball, which was visible for 20 seconds just after 10pm on Wednesday night, was a piece of space junk from Elon Musk’s satellite programmes.
John Maclean, an astronomer noted that the object was most likely space junk as it was travelling too slowly to be meteor, adding that the most likely cause was a Starlink satellite from Musk’s SpaceX.
He said: “What we’re looking at at the moment is a Starlink satellite, which was actually due to deorbit or reenter atmosphere today, but it is possible it could have deorbited slightly early.”
Starlink is a constellation of satellites created by SpaceX, with the aim of launching satellite internet coverage that will one day span the entire globe.
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Mr Musk aims to encircle the whole planet with around 42,000 low earth orbit satellites to one day provide internet connectivity to millions.
Speaking of the fireball, the Guardian reported Mr Maclean saying: “The trajectory was south to north. It was first noticed as it went from the north of England. It probably just burnt up in the atmosphere. But if any of it landed it would have been in the Atlantic near the Hebrides.
“Most meteors enter the atmosphere between around 75,000 and 80,000 mph. Whereas space junk is slower at 25,000 to 30,000 mph.
“As a result space junk is visible across the sky for much longer. A meteor would be a matter of a few seconds, whereas this was visible for 20 seconds. That’s too slow for meteor.”