(ORDO NEWS) — On the night of September 15, residents of Great Britain noticed a bright ball of fire in the sky. According to astronomers, it could be a piece of space debris associated with the Starlink satellite system.
The British Meteor Service said the fireball was visible for about 20 seconds. They received more than 800 reports of the event from Scotland, Northern Ireland and the north of England.
Astronomer of the meteor service, member of the Royal Astronomical Society, John McLean, believes that it was a piece of space debris, because the object was moving too slowly to be a meteor. He calls the Starlink satellite the most likely source of the debris.
SpaceX did not comment on the speculation.
“The trajectory was from south to north. He was first noticed when he was coming from the north of England.
It probably just burned up in the atmosphere.
But if something did fall to Earth, it was in the Atlantic near the Hebridean Islands,” McLean said.
He also added that most meteors enter the atmosphere at a speed of 120,000 to 130,000 kilometers per hour, while space debris moves much slower, approximately 40,000 to 50,000 kilometers per hour.
Therefore, space debris is much more visible in the sky. According to McLean, the meteor would have been visible for a few seconds, the same fireball was observed for a full 20 seconds.
The scientist also added that sometimes astronomers observe satellites or debris from spaceships that descend from their orbits, but it does not appear that this was one of them.
According to McLean, Starlink satellites “depart from their orbits quite often” because they have a limited lifespan.
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