Watch: Mysterious fireball slowly streaks across sky over Scotland
An enormous fireball streaked across the night sky over Scotland on Wednesday evening and experts are uncertain as to the nature of the mysterious burning object. The puzzling incident reportedly occurred around 10 PM local time last night and lasted for approximately 20 seconds. The brightness of the fireball as well as the remarkable length of time it was visible in the sky led to it being seen by hundreds of stunned witnesses in Scotland as well as people living in Northern Ireland and the northern part of England. As for what could have caused the event, experts concede that t is something of a mystery.
Where the object has proven to be a puzzle to astronomers is in its odd twenty-second 'lifespan.' Astronomer John Maclean told the Guardian that meteors move through the sky at an incredible "75,000 and 80,000 miles-per-hour," while space junk travels at around one-third that rate of speed. "As a result, space junk is visible across the sky for much longer," he explained, "a meteor would be a matter of a few seconds, whereas this was visible for 20 seconds. That's too slow for a meteor." Maclean also pointed to videos of the fireball which show the object appearing to break up in a manner more consistent with incoming debris rather than a rock.
While this initially seemed to solve the mystery, a subsequent attempt at determining the specific space junk responsible for the fireball wound up only complicating the matter. Looking at the prime suspect, which was a piece of SpaceX Starlink satellite, the organization UK Meteor Network indicated on social media that their investigation found that such an object "would not have come anywhere near the UK" at the time of the fireball. Intriguingly, they also noted that "at this point, we cannot find any known space junk or satellite de-orbit that could account for this fireball." As of now, it would seem that neither the meteor theory nor the space junk hypothesis totally fits with the mysterious event that unfolded over Scotland on Wednesday night.