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Dublin: 5 °C Sunday 15 December, 2019
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Live in the north-east? Start looking for some meteorites

Astronomy Ireland believes a fireball seen last week landed in the Irish Sea – but would have disintegrated over land first.

Image: Navicore via Flickr

YOU MIGHT have spotted an unexplained bright light in the skies last week – and if you live in Co Louth or nearby, you might want to have a root around your garden in case it left a rare souvenir.

Astronomy Ireland says a fireball was spotted over Ireland last Tuesday evening at around 8:20pm, and was so intensely bright that it could be seen from areas as diverse as Cork and Derry – and even through light cloud cover.

After issuing an appeal for reports on where the meteor was heading – with common consensus being that the fiery object was seen heading east – the group has now concluded that it landed in the Irish Sea, most likely off the coast of Co Louth.

The brightness of the object, however, means the meteor was large enough to disintegrate and deposit small meteorites over land in the north-east of the country first.

The coastal regions over Co Louth are most likely to be home to the small meteorites, in case anyone is looking for a little bit of extra-terrestrial memorabilia.

Only two meteorites have been found in Ireland in the last hundred years – in Northern Ireland in 1969, and in Co Carlow in 1999.

A fireball is a particular class of meteor which appears to be brighter than Venus, which itself is the brighest star-like object visible from Earth. Venus itself is around 15 times brighter than any actual stars.

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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