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Fireball Reports from 2009

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 2009. 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 below the table.

Table of Fireball Reports

 

Date Time (UT) Magnitude and Notes Observed from
09/01/4-5 17:16 -4/-5 Isle of Man
09/01/6-7 17:30 Bright; fragmented* Leicestershire
09/01/6-7 ~19:00 Bright* Bedfordshire
09/01/9-10 18:47 +/- 8m -5/-8?; 10 reports* England & S Wales
09/01/17-18 19:08 Brilliant; many reports; imaged* N Europe
09/01/18-19 ~17:40 -4?* Suffolk
09/01/18-19 ~22:34 -3/-6 Gloucestershire
09/02/13-14 02:11:18 Bright; several reports; imaged* N France
09/02/14-15 ~18:37 Bright Tyne & Wear
09/03/4-5 02:54 Very bright; 2 reports; imaged* NE Lincs & Netherlands
09/03/10-11 18:45 -5/-10; 23 reports* S England & S Wales
09/03/12-13 04:25 Bright Suffolk
09/03/14-15 00:45 Bright Pembrokeshire
09/03/15-16 23:56 Brilliant Middlesex
09/03/15-16 00:10 -8/-12; 2 reports* Derbys & Wilts
09/03/20-21 22:45 About -7; several reports Belgium & N France
09/03/20-21 ~23:00 Brighter than -5 Isle of Man
09/03/22-23 21:21 At least -2/-3 Northamptonshire
09/04/4-5 23:32 +/- 2m -8/-10?; multiple reports* England, N Ireland, Ireland
09/04/11-12 ~00:00 -6/-9 Liverpool
09/04/17-18 22:59 -3; Possible LYR Shropshire
09/04/19-20 ~22:00 Very bright* Shropshire
09/04/19-20 22:56 Bright; seen from indoors* Denbighshire
09/04/20-21 ~20:45-20:50 -7/-10; fragmented Northamptonshire
09/04/20-21 22:31 -8; Non-LYR* York
09/04/21-22 21:25 -8; Non-LYR* Isle of Man
09/04/21-22 ~22:03 Bright; 2 reports*; Non-LYR Salford & W Yorks
09/04/21-22 00:12 -5; Non-LYR* Northumberland
09/04/26-27 ~20:35 -7 Nottinghamshire
09/04/26-27 21:15 -5; 2 reports N Yorkshire
09/04/27-28 01:39 -3/-5 Co Durham
09/04/29-30 ~20:00 -10?* Derbyshire
09/05/7-8 ~01:00 Bright; fragmented Buckinghamshire
09/05/9-10 ~21:30 Very bright Co Donegal, Ireland
09/05/11-12 ~21:35 -9; 12 reports* Britain
09/05/12-13 22:30 Very bright Co Antrim
09/05/24-25 20:51 -9; fragmented Cornwall
09/05/26-27 ~22:57-22:58 -3/-5* Aberdeenshire
09/05/28-29 22:36 -3; fragmented* West Midlands
09/05/28-29 01:30 +/- 30m Very bright Essex
09/05/28-29 01:46 At least -3 Essex
09/06/3-4 ~21:15 At least -7; seen from indoors Cornwall
09/06/9-10 ~22:45 Very bright Argyll
09/06/15-16 ~20:30 Bright; some media reports* Guernsey & S England
09/07/2-3 20:30 Bright Lancashire
09/07/3-4 22:55 About -6/-7; 3 reports; imaged* England & Netherlands
09/07/6-7 23:48 -3 Northamptonshire
09/07/8-9 21:56 Bright W Sussex
09/07/8-9 23:38-23:40 Bright; fragmented; 2 reports Lancs & E Lothian
09/07/15-16 22:30 Bright Inverclyde
09/07/18-19 23:00-23:05 Brighter than -10; 3 reports* NW France
09/07/24-25 ~23:15 -8/-13? Merseyside
09/07/27-28 ~22:20 Bright Dumfries & Galloway
09/08/15-16 ~23:30 Bright Bedfordshire
09/08/21-22 22:43 Brighter than -3* West Midlands
09/08/27-28 00:45-00:50 Bright* Belfast
09/09/3-4 20:00-20:15 Very bright; media reports* Ireland
09/09/9-10 23:30 +/- 10m -5 N Yorkshire
09/09/20-21 23:25 Bright Devon
09/10/11-12 19:23 -4 Hertfordshire
09/10/13-14 ~18:00 Brilliant; imaged* Netherlands
09/10/22-23 ~19:20 Brighter than -3* Devon
09/10/28-29 ~23:00 -8 Midlothian
09/11/6-7 22:06 At least -4 Northamptonshire
09/11/11-12 ~06:40 -3/-4* Hampshire
09/11/15-16 ~17:15 Bright Wiltshire
09/11/16-17 22:36 -6; probable STA W Yorkshire
09/11/16-17 05:47 >-13; 2 reports; LEO; imaged* Lancs & Co Londonderry
09/11/21-22 00:57 Brighter than -5; imaged* Co Armagh
09/11/26-27 ~17:58 Bright Leicestershire
09/12/3-4 20:00 +/- 5m Roughly -9; 11 reports* S England
09/12/3-4 22:30 +/- 30m Very bright - cast shadows* Dorset
09/12/16-17 02:42 -7/-8; GEM* Co Londonderry
09/12/17-18 ~04:10-04:15 Bright* Derbyshire
09/12/19 ~12:45 -15/-20; in daylight; 13 reports* Central & E England

 

Detailed Reports

 

Date Time (UT) Notes Details
09/01/6-7 17:30 Bright; fragmented*; Leicestershire Preliminary sighting notes for both the January 6-7 fireballs can be found among the Quadrantids topic postings on the UK Weather World's Space Weather Forum.
09/01/6-7 ~19:00 Bright*; Bedfordshire
09/01/9-10 18:47 +/- 8m -5/-8?; 10 reports*; England & S Wales The January 9-10 fireball seems to have moved roughly NE to SW, having started somewhere high above NW or central-western Wales, or perhaps somewhat east of there over northern Wales, and moved out over Cardigan Bay towards St George's Channel, judging by the reports received, though this possible track could not be firmly-established. Most witnesses described it as slow-moving, and it was visible for probably 3 to 4 seconds. Colours reported included blue, red, orange and yellow, plus green (perhaps in the object's tail). Some of the sighting reports can be found on the SPA's Observing Forum and in the UK Weather World's Space Weather Quadrantids topic.
09/01/17-18 19:08 Brilliant; many reports; imaged*; N Europe Details on the amazing January 17-18 fireball, plus links to sites with more, including some of the images, can be found on the SPA's General Chat Forum. Unfortunately, though the meteor was imaged as far west in Europe as the Netherlands, most observers of it were much further east across northern Europe no sightings of the event were received from Britain. Carbonaceous chondrite meteorites found on the Danish island of Lolland in early March have been associated with this meteor (see ENB 264).
09/01/18-19 ~17:40 -4?*; Suffolk Initial sighting notes on the ~17:40 UT fireball from January 18-19 can be found among the postings here on the SPA's Observing Forum.
09/02/13-14 02:11:18 Bright; several reports; imaged*; N France French colleague Karl Antier kindly provided notes on the imaged fireball seen from around and north of Paris on February 13-14. The object was caught on video from Normandy, hence the very precise timing, and this can be seen via the 'météores/bolides' link on observer Stéfane Jouin's homepage (then check for Feb 14 in the 2009 calendar section; these pages are of course in French). Karl mentioned that the object seemed likely to have been brighter than the estimated magnitude -4 the analysis software suggested. This event could have been spotted from southern Britain or the Channel Islands, though sadly no reports arrived from here. More fireballs that night were imaged from Italy and Texas, USA - see the General Chat Forum for information.
09/03/4-5 02:54 Very bright; 2 reports; imaged*; NE Lincs & Netherlands Klaas Jobse in the Netherlands was the fortunate imager of the March 4-5 fireball, using his automated all-sky camera system, part of the European Fireball Network. Unfortunately, sky conditions there and in NE Lincolnshire were rather poor - you can see how cloudy it was for Klaas on his image here - so it is probably a measure of the event's brilliance that it was recorded at all! The start position could not be well-established. It may have been ~100+ km above the Holland-Belgium border north of Antwerp. The end has been more closely constrained, at probably ~80 km altitude over the northwest Netherlands, likely near 52.9°N, 6.2°E. Assistant Meteor Director David Entwistle reported a strong radio-meteor echo was detected at about the key time from four places, two in Belgium, one in England, the other in Northern Ireland. As usual with radio data, we cannot be certain all four observers definitely detected this fireball, but it seems plausible most may have done so.
09/03/10-11 18:45 -5/-10; 23 reports*; S England & S Wales The March 10-11 twilight fireball was reported from sites across southern England and south Wales, east as far as southern Essex, north to Warwickshire and the West Midlands, and west as far as Rhondda Cynon Taf and the south coast of mid Devon. Most of the witnesses were on the road at the time, so regrettably positional information on the object's flight is very sketchy. The start may have been somewhere high above the upper Severn estuary, around Herefordshire-Worcestershire-Gloucestershire perhaps, and the fireball flew from there probably roughly northeast to southwest, but possibly nearer north to south, most likely ending out over the Channel somewhere between Start Point west to Land's End. The end especially is little more than a best-guess however, and could have been southwest of Land's End, or even over land towards the south coasts of Devon or Cornwall instead. The meteor seems to have been quite swift-moving, so it is most unlikely any meteorites will have survived. Five observers reported the object fragmented in mid-flight, but ten others saw no such break-up, possibly because of variable viewing angles to the trail. Various striking colours were noted by different people, commonly blue, green or yellow and white in the head and red, orange or yellow in the tail, plus it may have left a short-lived persistent train. There was a single report of simultaneous sounds heard during the object's flight from Dorset. Some of the sightings, comments and follow-up notes can be found on the SPA's Observing Forum.
09/03/15-16 00:10 -8/-12; 2 reports*; Derbys & Wilts Positional information from the witnesses of the 00:10 UT fireball on March 15-16 suggested the object may have followed a roughly south to north trajectory high above Oxfordshire to Northamptonshire, though this is not certain.
09/04/4-5 23:32 +/- 2m -8/-10?; multiple reports*; England, N Ireland, Ireland Three definite sightings from England, and one each from Ireland and Northern Ireland reached the Section on the April 4-5 fireball, made in Merseyside, Worcestershire, Cornwall, Counties Wicklow and Antrim. A further sighting from Buckinghamshire was reported perhaps around 23:00 UT that night, but this was possibly a separate event. The five main ~23:32 UT observations did not allow an especially precise atmospheric track to be estimated for this meteor. However, it is plausible the visible track was oriented between roughly south-north to SW-NE. It probably started over the Bristol Channel/St George's Channel area, or Pembrokeshire/Carmarthenshire of nearby southern Wales, and ended above SW to central-western Wales or Cardigan Bay. The end could conceivably have been further north, perhaps over the Lleyn Peninsula/Anglesey area, or even above the Irish Sea between Caernarfon Bay to Wicklow/Dublin, though likely closer to the Welsh than the Irish coast if so. Three observers reported quite severe fragmentation later in the flight, which may have happened over SW Wales or the southern Irish Sea between the St David's Head/southern Cardigan Bay to Carnsore Point/Cahore Point region. Media sources attributed comments to Astronomy Ireland officers that suggested more sightings had been made from elsewhere in Ireland and Northern Ireland. The media notices were not clear always whether this object may have been on April 4-5 or 5-6 unfortunately, and one quote suggested the meteor was moving from the west across central Ireland. Such a path would be wholly inconsistent with the data reported to the SPA, so there may indeed have been a second event involved.
09/04/19-20 ~22:00 Very bright*; Shropshire Although the Lyrids have a reputation for producing bright meteors near their maximum, which was due this year on April 22, the apparent "cluster" of mostly single-station fireball sightings around April 19 to 22 seems to have had relatively little to do with that shower for once. Too little information was available on some to determine a possible origin, but four at least were not Lyrids. The ~22:03 UT event on April 21-22 may have been heading roughly west to east, somewhere across northern England, possibly above Lancashire/Cumbria to North Yorkshire, as a best-estimate.
09/04/19-20 22:56 Bright; seen from indoors*; Denbighshire
09/04/20-21 22:31 -8; Non-LYR*; York
09/04/21-22 21:25 -8; Non-LYR*; Isle of Man
09/04/21-22 ~22:03 Bright; 2 reports*; Non-LYR; Salford & W Yorks
09/04/21-22 00:12 -5; Non-LYR*; Northumberland
09/04/29-30 ~20:00 -10?*; Derbyshire The witness of the April 29-30 event was able to rule-out an Iridium flare being the cause, but the object was unusual as it was seen directly overhead, and was apparently stationary. It may have been a very rare point-source fireball, heading directly towards the observer, but it may have been a reflection from an aircraft window instead, not long after sunset. Further reports might enable the fireball possibility to be confirmed.
09/05/11-12 ~21:35 -9; 12 reports*; Britain Few reports of the May 11-12 fireball, seen from places scattered across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, gave enough detail to allow a possible trajectory for this meteor to be estimated. It may have flown on a very rough south to north track from above eastern England (maybe somewhere over East Anglia/Cambridgeshire) to a point above the North Sea possibly off the Lincolnshire to North Yorkshire coasts, but this is all very uncertain, and the end may even have been over land near those same coastal districts. Half the witnesses reported the fireball was distinctly green, but a few others noted orange, blue or red was present in it instead. Those people who saw most or all the flight indicated the object remained visible for up to three or four seconds. Four early reports were noted on the BBC Scottish News website, but the suggestion there that the fireball may have originated from the Eta Aquarid meteor shower was quite wrong. Most bright fireballs like this belong to no known meteor shower in general, and linking the event by date to a shower with no supporting evidence is a very common misconception. The most critical problem in making such an association in this case is that the Eta Aquarid radiant was still well below the horizon at 21:35 UT, since it rises only after the start of morning twilight even from southern Britain during May.
09/05/26-27 ~22:57-22:58 -3/-5*; Aberdeenshire This SPA Observing Forum topic contains the initial sighting for the May 26-27 fireball, and that for the 22:36 UT fireball on May 28-29.
09/05/28-29 22:36 -3; fragmented*; West Midlands
09/06/15-16 ~20:30 Bright; some media reports*; Guernsey & S England Confused media reports of "meteor showers" on June 15-16 may have been due to just a single bright fireball off the south or southwest coast of England instead. One sighting of a fireball seen to the west from Guernsey was posted among the UK Weather World's Space Weather Forum messages discussing this subject here certainly, timed at roughly 20:30 UT. More discussion can be found regarding the event or events that evening on the SPA's General Chat Forum.
09/07/3-4 22:55 About -6/-7; 3 reports; imaged*; England & Netherlands Klaas Jobse's all-sky camera caught the image of the July 3-4 fireball, from the Netherlands. It can be seen here, including a close-up of the fireball's trail. The event was also observed visually from the West Midlands and Kent in England. Some initial details, including comments from one of the lucky observers, are on the Observing Forum. Unfortunately, it was not possible to determine a clear trajectory for the object from these observations, but the meteor was likely out high over the southern North Sea between southeast England and western Holland, probably heading in a direction between roughly southwest-northeast to south-north. It seemed to have been slow-moving, as one visual witness and Klaas' image, suggested it was visible for around 5 to 6 seconds.
09/07/18-19 23:00-23:05 Brighter than -10; 3 reports*; NW France The impressive fireball on July 18-19 was observed from three sites in Brittany, according to details helpfully provided to the Section by French fireball expert Karl Antier. The object seemed to have travelled from somewhere northwest of Brittany towards the north, so could probably have been seen from southern Britain and the Channel Islands. No reports from these places were received, however. Notes on the initial sightings (in French) can be found here.
09/08/21-22 22:43 Brighter than -3*; West Midlands See the Observing Forum for the original report of the August 21-22 fireball.
09/08/27-28 00:45-00:50 Bright*; Belfast Initial notes on the August 27-28 fireball are available here on the UK Weather World's Space Weather Forum.
09/09/3-4 20:00-20:15 Very bright; media reports*; Ireland The BBC News website had a few initial comments on the September 3-4 fireball seen from parts of Ireland.
09/10/13-14 ~18:00 Brilliant; imaged*; Netherlands Although not reported from Britain, the October 13-14 fireball attracted much attention in the Netherlands. Links to the images and the trajectory estimated by the Dutch Meteor Society are on the Observing Forum.
09/10/22-23 ~19:20 Brighter than -3*; Devon Some details of the October 22-23 fireball were reported on the SPA's Observing Forum.
09/11/11-12 ~06:40 -3/-4*; Hampshire The first information received on the November 11-12 fireball was given here on the Observing Forum.
09/11/16-17 05:47 >-13; 2 reports; LEO; imaged*; Lancs & Co Londonderry The brilliant 05:47 UT Leonid fireball on November 16-17 left a very persistent train for about ten minutes, which was imaged by Martin McKenna in Northern Ireland, who was concluding his night's meteor watching at the time. Some of the images he secured can be viewed on the Leonids topic of the UK Weather World's Space Weather Forum.
09/11/21-22 00:57 Brighter than -5; imaged*; Co Armagh A video and further details on the November 21-22 fireball, which was imaged by two automated cameras at Armagh Observatory, can be found on the Armagh website. Two radio meteor observers, one each in England and Northern Ireland, also recorded an unusually strong, persistent radio-meteor echo beginning at the time the fireball occurred, signals which were likely related to this very bright meteor.
09/12/3-4 20:00 +/- 5m Roughly -9; 11 reports*; S England Some early notes on the ~20:00 UT December 3-4 fireball, with links to a few of the initial sightings, can be found on the Observing Forum. Reports of this fireball were received from Somerset, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Hampshire, Berkshire, West Sussex and West London. The information derived from them was a little sketchy, but the observations suggested the fireball's start was around 90-100 km altitude, somewhere above a rough area bounded to the east and west by the western Isle of Wight and the Bournemouth area of Dorset respectively, or a point up to ~15 km north or south of this approximate line. The end could not be firmly-established, but may have lain within about 40 km of a point roughly midway between Bridport and Dorchester in Dorset, perhaps around 50 to 60 km altitude. If correct, this would suggest a crude flight direction aligned somewhere between east-west to southeast-northwest. Estimates for the visible duration averaged ~4 seconds, but this could have been longer, maybe up to six or seven seconds, as not all witnesses saw the entire track. Six reports of some fragmentation during the object's flight were received, with colours varying from green or green-white (five reports), to blue-white or orange-yellow (two reports each), or yellow (one sighting). One observer suggested orange was present in its tail, while a group elsewhere indicated it was likely the fragments that were orange, and a short-lived train may have persisted afterwards (two sightings). It is possible there were two other UK-visible fireballs that evening, one around 19:20 UT, the other perhaps near 20:30, plus a fourth event within half an hour of 22:30, as given in the table above (seen from Dorset, but by a witness who unluckily missed the ~20:00 meteor). Details on the ~19:20 and ~20:30 meteors remained unconfirmed, however.
09/12/3-4 22:30 +/- 30m Very bright - cast shadows*; Dorset
09/12/16-17 02:42 -7/-8; GEM*; Co Londonderry The original observation of the December 16-17 Geminid fireball can be found on the second page of comments for the "Geminids 2009" topic of the UK Weather World's Space Weather Forum.
09/12/17-18 ~04:10-04:15 Bright*; Derbyshire See the Observing Forum's topic on the December 3-4 fireball for the observing notes regarding the December 17-18 fireball. The two events were unrelated.
09/12/19 ~12:45 -15/-20; in daylight; 13 reports*; Central & E England Sightings of the spectacular daylight fireball on December 19 were received from places in southern Yorkshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, though as many witnesses were on the road at the time, few people managed to give sufficient information to allow a reasonable trajectory for the event to be estimated. However, the fireball was probably high above the North Sea off eastern England and perhaps partly over northeastern East Anglia too. A majority of the observations suggested the meteor's atmospheric trajectory was probably angled somewhere between north-south to northwest-southeast (though three reports favoured the opposite south-north to southeast-northwest direction-range instead). It seemed to have remained visible for about 3 to 3.5 seconds from most estimates, and was almost certainly well in excess of full Moon brilliance at its brightest to be seen so widely in the near-noon daytime. Various colours were suggested by different witnesses, always a subjective topic anyway, but most (five people) favoured a very bright silvery white, while one each preferred yellow, orange-yellow or red-yellow for the main fireball. One witness spotted some slight fragmentation very late in the flight, but two other people saw none at all (this can sometimes depend on the angle from which the meteor's path is viewed). One observer in north Norfolk, plausibly the person closest to the possible trajectory, suggested a faint simultaneous sound may have occurred as the fireball flared to its near-terminal maximum brightness. The General Chat Forum has a topic featuring some of the initial notices and subsequent discussion regarding this fireball, including links to the online media coverage (but sadly no images). Grateful thanks are due to Assistant Meteor Director David Entwistle, and Len Entwisle, for helping to round-up some of the sightings not submitted directly.

Added by:  Robin Scagell