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01 March 2016

Major bolide over North Scotland, 29-Feb-2016!

Major bolide over North Scotland, 29-Feb-2016!
reported by  meteordetective
** Update: 01-Mar-2016, 23:24Z.

Well, it seems that the excitement and news coverage of this event were equally high.  All data, reports and first-hand sightings which I've seen in the 24 hours since the meteor buzzed the Scottish highlands - point towards a near-miss (for a surface impact).

According to a report which was included in the Independent's coverage, people could smell burning afterwards: "Here in Carrbridge we saw it very clearly as a bright blue light for three or four seconds at 6.45pm followed by a distinct burning smell in the air for a few minutes after."  (Carrbridge is 33km / 20mi SE of Inverness).  If it's true that you could smell burning and that burning was a direct result of the meteor and nothing else, it seems to me that Scotland just had a close-call.

Mark Dammer's update on the Highland Weather Facebook page gave additional clues:

"Looking south from our living room I noticed the sky suddenly lighting up extremely bright for a few seconds. The light was flickering and in a blue / green color. After about 3-5 minutes I could hear two explosions. It sounded like a very low frequency rumble coming from a great distance. (Estimated distance for 3-5 minutes would be between 60 - 100 Km.)"  Unfortunately, he didn't mention where he lives.

Professor Keith Horne, from St Andrews University, on the BBC's NE Scotland website, stated:

"..this one would have been about 10cm (4in) across." and " probably burnt up at an altitude of 20 miles (32km) without any pieces reaching Earth."

I'm not so sure that I agree with his analysis.  Something which burns-up at 20 miles in the sky is unlikely to leave a burning smell on the ground just minutes after the event.  What I saw looked significantly larger than 10cm across, too.

Kudos and thanks to Ian Sample (Science Editor of The Guardian) for being on-the-ball and for being helpful, and likewise to the senders of the report I received from Seaham Harbour, County Durham.

For those of you whom are already familiar with Genesis, here's a little something on the sky-watching theme to enjoy.  For those of you unfamiliar with Genesis, this was "prog(ressive) rock" at its finest.

Keep your eyes on the skies.

** Update: 01-Mar-2016, 07:54Z.

Many people have reported a major bolide sighting over Northern Scotland during the evening of Mon 29-Feb-2016.  I'm still collating/determining all the information, but it looks to have tracked ESE->WNW at around 18:45Z.  The bolide turned night in to day for a few seconds.

This appears to be an unknown/undetected meteor/meteorite.  Of the latest 3 discoveries, the closest (by time/date proximity) is 2016 DL1 with a close-approach of 4.68LD at 01-March at 18:22Z, but I don't think the Scottish bolide and 2016 DL1 are related, at the moment.

There are several dashcam and security camera recordings of the event.  The best, so far, was by Dee Scholes, whom caught the meteor whilst driving near Glenlivet, Scotland.

A second, HD, video which shows the meteor itself has been published to Youtube by the owner of the dashcam and has allowed a track of East-to-West (at an approximate latitude of 57.2º) west of Aberdeen to be established (and coordinated with the Glenlivet sighting). (Click thumbnail to enlarge screenshot, below).

The meteor appears to have produced one or more sonic booms and disintegrated during descent, so there *may* be meteorites on the ground on a track of, roughly, Aberdeen-Aviemore-Fort Augustus...but likely further west than this, too.


  1. Telegraph article
  2. Highlands & Islands Weather page on Facebook
  3. Herald Scotland article
  4. Sauchen Aberdeenshire sighting

If you have any other details, information, photos, videos etc, please contact meteordetective AT gmail DOT com.

Thank you.

2016 The THIRD Year of "CERTAIN Uncertainty" ™ / Meteors, Asteroids, Comets, and MORE!!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

It rattled our windows & doors. Then a cold blast came right behind it. It was pretty scary