Popular Astronomy

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Stumble It More...

Fireball Reports from 2005


Fireball reports, especially those made from the British Isles and nearby areas, are always welcomed by the SPA Meteor Section. See the Making and Reporting Fireball Observations page on this website for details of what to record on seeing a fireball, where and how to report your data.

Below is a list of some of the fireballs reported to the Section from 2005. It mainly consists of those events seen away from the major meteor shower maxima (when fireballs are more common), unless the objects were not part of the meteor shower in question, or were particularly impressive. A "*" in the 'Magnitude and Notes' column indicates further details are given in the second table.

Table of Fireball Reports


Date Time (UT) Magnitude and Notes Observed from
05/01/16-17 17:28 -5/-9?; 5 reports* S England
05/01/17-18 06:35 Brilliant; 3 reports* Fife, Cumbria & Cambs
05/01/18-19 20:22 Very bright Suffolk
05/01/26-27 20:26 Bright Lancashire
05/01/26-27 ~00:35 Very bright Cheshire
05/01/27-28 ~20:30 -4; possibly a flare or an aircraft Near Aviemore, Highland
05/02/2-3 23:15 Bright Co Durham
05/02/4-5 00:57 Brilliant; many reports* Belgium & Netherlands
05/02/10-11 19:15 Very bright Merseyside
05/02/18-19 05:10 Very bright Nottinghamshire
05/02/19-20 ~00:30 Bright; media report only Shropshire
05/02/20 09:55:20 -12/-18; in daylight; 31 reports* England & S Wales
05/02/26-27 ~19:15 -13/-15? Gower
05/04/4-5 ~01:30 Very bright; seen from indoors* Lincolnshire
05/05/27-28 ~22:00 Very bright Buckinghamshire
05/05/27-28 23:11 -10? Norfolk
05/05/28-29 ~18:00 Brilliant; in daylight Cardigan
05/06/7-8 01:31 -4/-5 (video image) Gloucestershire
05/06/8-9 ~21:55 Brilliant flash, but no meteor* Gloucs & Hants
05/06/23-24 00:20 Bright Ayrshire
05/06/25-26 23:40 Very bright; 2 reports Glasgow
05/07/16-17 20:19 -3/-8?; 7 reports* SE England, Channel Isles, Belgium
05/07/23-24 21:54 -8 or brighter; seen from indoors Birmingham
05/07/30-31 23:40 Bright; fragmented Wiltshire
05/08/1-2 18:45 Brilliant; in daylight Isle of Wight
05/08/8-9 23:35 Very bright; PER; 2 reports S England
05/08/30-31 ~18:55 Sun-like brightness; in daylight River Avon estuary, Bristol area
05/09/1-2 20:54 -3; slow; brief train Northumberland
05/10/5-6 22:34 Very bright; green* Merseyside
05/10/5-6 01:46 -12/-14; blue* Lancashire
05/10/9-10 ~21:25 -10/-15; 3 reports Lincs & W Midlands
05/10/26-27 05:30 -3/-4 Hampshire
05/10/30-31 ~20:10 -10/-15?; probable Taurid* Newcastle-upon-Tyne
05/11/0-1 01:55 -3/-5; probable Taurid* Cleveland
05/11/2-3 ~19:05 Very bright; probable Taurid* Kent
05/11/3-4 ~22:40-22:50 Very bright; probable Taurid* Multiple sites across England
05/11/4-5 ~22:45-22:55 More than -3; probable Taurid* Surrey
05/11/4-5 ~00:00 Very bright Worcestershire
05/11/6-7 00:16 Bright; possible Taurid* Oxfordshire
05/11/8-9 ~23:23 -13/-15?; possible Taurid* Dublin
05/11/8-9 23:23 -3/-4? Belfast
05/11/8-9 ~23:33 -9?; possible Taurid* Dublin
05/11/11-12 18:05 -10/-15; very slow; fragmented Lanarkshire
05/11/11-12 23:30 -12?; probable Taurid* Leicestershire
05/11/12-13 16:45 -12?; possible Taurid* Leicestershire
05/11/15-16 19:30-19:35 -3/-4; non-Taurid Co Durham
05/11/16-17 18:41 Very bright; possible Taurid* Merthyr Tydfil & Worcs
05/11/17-18 03:58 -6/-8; LEO; 45 sec train* Northumberland
05/11/19-20 19:50 -7/-10 Wiltshire
05/11/20-21 19:30 +/- 20m -5/-8; fragmented Hampshire
05/11/20-21 ~05:25 Bright; fragmented Dorset
05/11/22-23 07:15 +/- 5m Very bright; fragmented; 5 reports* Scotland, England, Wales
05/11/24-25 ~02:20 -4/-6* Surrey
05/11/26-27 ~02:17 -2/-4 Oxfordshire
05/11/27-28 ~18:00 Bright Co Down
05/11/28-29 23:39 +/- 10m Brilliant E Yorkshire
05/11/29 11:47 Probable daylight fireball Oxfordshire
05/12/4-5 ~21:14 -3/-4; 2 reports Essex & Kent
05/12/10-11 ~19:35 Bright; possible GEM Kent
05/12/10-11 ~06:00 Bright Hertfordshire
05/12/25-26 02:25-02:30 Bright; slow Bristol
05/12/28-29 17:50 +/- 2m Bright Glen Spean, Highland
05/12/28-29 19:15-19:30 Very bright Lincolnshire

Detailed Reports


Date Time (UT) Notes Details
05/01/16-17 17:28 -5/-9?; 5 reports*; S England A best-estimate from the available observations of the January 16-17 fireball, suggested it may have been over the Bristol Channel, but possibly also partly above the SW Wales to St George's Channel area.
05/01/17-18 06:35 Brilliant; 3 reports*; Fife, Cumbria & Cambs Reports of the January 17-18 meteor indicated it probably flew east to west above the Irish Sea/Lancashire/Cumbria region, passing almost overhead across south Cumbria. It was clearly most impressive to have been seen so readily from central Scotland and southern England.
05/02/4-5 00:57 Brilliant; many reports*; Belgium & Netherlands The fireball of February 4-5 was spectacular and fragmented, as seen from sites across Belgium and Holland. Its trajectory was probably roughly midway between Britain and the Netherlands over the North Sea, so had skies been clear, it should have been visible from parts of southern and eastern England too. No UK sightings of it reached the SPA, however. The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute's infrasound detectors recorded a clear signal due to this event as well.
05/02/20 09:55:20 -12/-18; in daylight; 31 reports*; England & S Wales Main details from the analysis of the amazing daytime fireball of February 20 were as follows. Time: 09:55:20 +/- 10 seconds UT, based on the start time for a strong, single-meteor, radio signature recorded by Andy Smith in Plymouth. General trend of trajectory: SE to NW, at a very shallow angle of ~6° +/- 3° from the horizontal, thus almost grazing the atmosphere. Start: Around 100 km altitude above western Dartmoor near Marytavy in Devon, some 7 km NNE of Tavistock. Fragmentation event: The main body broke into several pieces quite late in its flight, perhaps 15 km or so NW of St David's Head, at about 85 +/- 10 km altitude above St George's Channel. End: At circa 80 +/- 10 km altitude, roughly 40 km ENE of Wexford Harbour, Co. Wexford, Ireland. (Note though that the location of the later stages of the flight, including the fragmentation area and the end, could not be especially well established. The three arrowed red lines on the accompanying diagram give an indication of this uncertainty, the thicker one showing the more probable, averaged solution.) Visible atmospheric path length: Around 235 km. Estimated mean total flight duration: Circa 5 +/- 1 seconds. Implied mean intra-atmospheric velocity, not allowing for deceleration: ~47 +/- 10 km/sec. Brightness: Probably in the magnitude range -12 to -18, but possibly brighter. Colour: Blue-green, with a bright white tail. Possibility of recovering any surviving meteorites: Very low. Any solid bodies following the centre-line of the estimated trajectory, after the end of the visible flight, might have splashed-down into the North Atlantic NW of a point roughly between the Rockall Rise and Barra in the Outer Hebrides, out as far as a landfall in western Iceland, or a sea-fall offshore of south-east Greenland, perhaps. This enormous possible fall-zone is little more than a best-guess. The observations on which these details were based were made from England and Wales on or west of a line running from west London, through Kettering in Northants, to Appleby in Cumbria, as indicated by the red dots on the sketch map. Note that in some cases a single dot may represent more than one observer or location too close together to separate at this scale.
Probable trajectory
probable trajectory
05/04/4-5 ~01:30 Very bright; seen from indoors*; Lincolnshire Although reported by only one British witness, the April 4-5 fireball came down at the end of a busy few days for European bright fireball observations, including an event over southern Sweden which was widely-seen from Denmark at 20:05 UT on April 2-3, followed by another caught on video by the Polish fireball network overnight on April 3-4.
05/06/8-9 ~21:55 Brilliant flash, but no meteor*; Gloucs & Hants The June 8-9 event was seen as a brilliant flash in a clear sky by two witnesses at widely separated sites, at about the same time. Unfortunately, neither saw a meteor (one was driving, the other indoors). Although quite likely that this was due to a very bright meteor, no definite sightings to confirm this were received.
05/07/16-17 20:19 -3/-8?; 7 reports*; SE England, Channel Isles, Belgium Five visual observations of the near-sunset July 16-17 fireball were received, one from Belgium, three from southern England, the fifth on Guernsey, plus there were two reports of strong radio signals which were probably produced by the fireball, one each in Belgium and England. These latter were used to help refine the event's timing. Brightness estimates suggested the event must have been at least magnitude -8, and it was likely significantly brighter, given the strongly twilit sky. The fireball's atmospheric track probably passed on a general south to north trend over the southern Channel north of the Baie de la Seine, perhaps some 40-80 km off the north-east tip of the Cotentin peninsula of Normandy, northern France. Its heights may have been around 90 to 60 km, but these are only best-estimates.
05/10/5-6 22:34 Very bright; green*; Merseyside October 5-6 saw not merely the two listed UK fireball reports, but minor bright-meteor activity recorded by European video observers from an unexpected shower, with a radiant around the Draco-Ursa Minor border, about 10° from Polaris in the direction of the "Pointers" in the "Plough" asterism of Ursa Major. For more details, see under "Meteor Showers" for October 5-6 on the Meteor Section Reports 2005 webpage elsewhere on this site. The 22:34 UT fireball may have originated from this source too, but the 01:46 UT event almost certainly did not.
05/10/5-6 01:46 -12/-14; blue*; Lancashire
05/10/30-31 ~20:10 -10/-15?; probable Taurid*; Newcastle-upon-Tyne Predictions of increased, possibly bright-meteor, Taurid rates from late October to early November proved correct. This list has some of the better-reported UK fireball sightings from this period, as at least 43 individual events, many of them probable Taurids, were notified to the SPA from Britain, Europe and the USA between October 26-27 and November 28-29 inclusive. The most widely-seen UK event was that on November 3-4, but details on this were rather sketchy, as most sightings came from vague media reports only. One lunar impact flash was imaged by a NASA research team on November 7 too, which probably resulted from a ~12 cm meteoroid, suggested as likely to have been a Taurid. More details on the Taurids in 2005 can be found under "Meteor Showers" on the Meteor Section Reports 2005 webpage elsewhere on this site.
05/11/0-1 01:55 -3/-5; probable Taurid*; Cleveland
05/11/2-3 ~19:05 Very bright; probable Taurid*; Kent
05/11/3-4 ~22:40-22:50 Very bright; probable Taurid*; Multiple sites across England
05/11/4-5 ~22:45-22:55 More than -3; probable Taurid*; Surrey
05/11/6-7 00:16 Bright; possible Taurid*; Oxfordshire
05/11/8-9 ~23:23 -13/-15?; possible Taurid*; Dublin
05/11/8-9 ~23:33 -9?; possible Taurid*; Dublin
05/11/11-12 23:30 -12?; probable Taurid*; Leicestershire
05/11/12-13 16:45 -12?; possible Taurid*; Leicestershire
05/11/16-17 18:41 Very bright; possible Taurid*; Merthyr Tydfil & Worcs
05/11/17-18 03:58 -6/-8; LEO; 45 sec train*; Northumberland As well as the November 17-18 event, a number of other definite Leonid fireballs were seen between November 17-20, over the shower's expected maximum, which are, as usual, not listed here. Some fireballs with no source identified around those dates that are given above may have been Leonids too.
05/11/22-23 07:15 +/- 5m Very bright; fragmented; 5 reports*; Scotland, England, Wales The events from the last week of November that could be approximately identified seem to have been mainly sporadics. The most widely-seen was on November 22-23, with reports made from Aberdeenshire, Glasgow, Northumberland, Shropshire and South Wales. The observer of the November 24-25 event was alerted from indoors after hearing a possible sonic boom shortly before the meteor was spotted. Whether this was an acoustic effect from an earlier brilliant fireball is not known, as no other reports from near this time were received. The Meteor Section Reports 2005 webpage again has further links to information on fireballs seen during the whole of November.
05/11/24-25 ~02:20 -4/-6*; Surrey

Prepared by Alastair McBeath, SPA Meteor Section Director.


Added by:  Robin Scagell