Feeds

Space FIREBALL over Blighty sparks hunt for rich meteorite

Boffins wowed by rock worth weight in gold

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Astronomers are searching for a highly expensive fist-sized meteorite that lit up the skies over Blighty on Saturday night. The fireball plunged to the ground somewhere in Devon, Normandy or in the Bay of Biscay - sparking fears of a downed aeroplane or missile attack.

The lump of space metals would be worth its weight in gold, Dr Marek Kukula, public astronomer at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich told The Independent: "Our own origins are locked up in these pieces of rock. They are pristine material from the beginning of the solar system and hold the ingredients of life. They are a real treasure-trove."

The Kielder Observatory in Northumberland reported the meteor as "huge fireball" travelling from north to south over Northumberland at 9.41pm, and rated its brightness at magnitude of -9. The breathless boffin manning the observatory's Twitter feed reported it as the highlight of his 30 years in astronomy.

First appearing over Scotland, the fiery space rock alarmed and enthralled folk across the UK; people in Strathclyde and Durham called the plod to report sightings of a damaged aircraft.

Others said the fireball looked like firework with a tail of many colours. John Kelly from Blackpool described it on Meteor reporting site AMSMeteors:

The head looked like a sparkler glowing gold with sparks coming off it and a white tail moving from left to right.

Amateur astronomer Phil Randall, from Sutton in Ashfield, said:

As an experienced amateur astronomer, this is the longest and brightest fireball I have ever seen and my fellow astronomers who were watching (we had a public open event at our observatory so there were probably 20 or 30 people watching) were all amazed and fascinated by the view. The object broke into 4 or 5 pieces directly above the viewing location.

Astronomers hope that a small fragment of it survived the fall through Earth's atmosphere and will turn up on land. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?