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Did you see one of these in the sky over Ireland on Wednesday?
Did you see one of these in the sky over Ireland on Wednesday?
Image: Triff via Shutterstock

Did you see a fireball blazing across Ireland on Wednesday night?

Astronomy Ireland is gathering reports to try and figure out if the fireball might have landed on Irish soil.
May 24th 2013, 7:52 PM 16,587 58

A MASSIVE FIREBALL blazed across the sky over Ireland on Wednesday evening – prompting attempts to figure out if a meteorite may have landed on Irish soil.

Astronomy Ireland is trying to gather reports from anyone who may have seen the fireball at any point between 10:30pm and 11pm on Wednesday night.

The ball “shot across the sky in only a few seconds,” according to Astronomy Ireland chairman David Moore, who explained that the fireball could have been any one of a number of things.

The ball was likely to have been a piece of a comet or asteroid that had passed near Earth’s orbit in the past, or may have been debris left floating in space which burned up as it entered the atmosphere and was pulled towards this planet.

The group hopes that if it can gather enough reports about the fireball and where it was observed, it can calculate whether the object landed on Irish soil.

Though the chances are that any object would have burned up entirely before making it to the ground, any surviving piece could be worth a significant sum.

The discovery of fragments in Leighlinbridge in Co Carlow in 1999 led to an offer of £20,000.

That is one of only two occasions in which a meteorite is known to have landed in Ireland in the last century, however. The other instance was in 1969, when a fireball dropped fragments throughout Northern Ireland – one of which fell through the roof of an RUC station.

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It is relatively easy to detect a fireball with the naked eye: it should have been clearly brighter than Venus, which is occasionally seen in the sky as the ‘Evening Star’.

Venus itself is around 15 times brighter in the sky than any genuine stars.

Anyone who may have spotted the fireball is asked to record their sighting at www.astronomy.ie.

Read: Mystery Moroccan rocks ‘fell from Mars’, say scientists

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Gavan Reilly

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