Fireball streaks by ‘heading in the direction of Dromore’

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People across Banbridge district and beyond have reported seeing a large meteor shooting across the night sky.

It was seen breaking up into pieces on the evening of Wednesday January 15, with sightings reported across the Banbridge district, Lurgan, Moira, Belfast and Dublin.

People took to Twitter to report the sightings including Mark Kendall @annadale0 who posted to @ArmaghPlanet “Noticed a meteorite I think, (it was still alight) flying through the air above Banbridge about 6.30pm was an amazing sight!”.

Many people described seeing a bright fireball moving across the sky with a large tail.

Armagh Observatory received many telephone and internet reports from members of the public reporting sightings of the meteoroid. Reports of the fireball can be viewed as a link from the Armagh Observatory website.

A report from Donaghcloney said: “An orange fireball in the East, travelling roughly South to North, about 35-40 degrees above the horizon. Became white before splitting in two, then became orange again and burst into four or five pieces and disappeared.

“It was very bright, traveled almost horizontally from my viewpoint and traversed roughly a 45 degree arc of sky. In view for about three or four seconds I think. Easily as bright as Jupiter, maybe brighter.”

The fireball was described as a “streak across the sky lasting 4-5 seconds, lovely tail, bits breaking up towards the end” by a person in Rathfriland.

Another report from Rathfriland said: “I was facing due east and observed a medium bright orange coloured star sized object crossing the sky from right to left over Rathfriland.

“It lasted for about two seconds and then broke up into three or maybe four parts.

“It broke up just below and to the right of the moon as I looked at it. Very impressive.”

The fireball was also witnessed by people out running near the Outlet Shopping Centre Banbridge.

The report said: “We were running around the outer road at the Outlet Shopping Centre (Dromore side)in Banbridge adjacent to the A1.

“I was running with a friend and our attention was drawn to the colour and the sound of a large fireball about 10ft-15ft in length.

“It was travelling at high speed.

“It was a clear evening which made it stand out beautifully!

“It came from the general direction of Newry and was travelling in general direction of Dromore just inland off the A1 dual carriageway. It wasn’t that high off the ground approximately 150-200 ft but disappeared in direction of Dromore.”