October 22 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Anyone in Sidmouth looking out of their bedroom window in the early hours of Monday morning could have been forgiven for thinking the end of the world was nigh.
A huge flaming meteor hurtling across the sky was the unlikely sight for anyone still awake just past 3am – but don’t worry if you missed it.
The flaming space rock was captured on video by the Norman Lockyer Observatory in Sidmouth – the largest one ever filmed since it turned its cameras on a year ago.
Such was the sheer size of the meteor, David Jones, who is based at the observatory, thought it was a low flying plane at first when he checked the cameras the following morning.
He said: “It was the largest ‘bolide’ meteor that we have captured since the cameras were turned on 12 months ago.
“A detection of this size is very rare and despite the thin cloud cover, the magnitude was so bright that it outshone everything normally seen in the night sky.
“This object was even brighter than a full moon.”
The space rock was travelling southwest to northeast over Devon but appeared to explode in the video clip because of the forces exerted on it.
Dave added: Anything substantial actually landing on the surface and becoming a meteorite are quite slim.
“However at the end of the video, you can still see the nucleus of the meteor carrying on its journey for some time so it was not totally destroyed during the explosive phase.
“This means there is a small chance of something falling to earth but I think it unlikely.”
Dave also said that the scarcity of recording meteors means another one similar may not be recorded for ‘many years’.