Meteor or ‘space junk’ spotted over York – expert says it is more likely “illuminated contrails” from a plan
EARLY risers in York yesterday morning could have spotted an intriguing display in the skies over the city.
Heworth woman Donna Chamberlain was up with the lark on Friday when she saw what she thought could be a meteor or “space junk” burning up as it entered the Earth’s atmosphere.
The firey dot appeared at 6.45am and moved slowly through the sky before it disappeared again at 6.52am, but not before Donna had chance to capture the “magical” display on camera.
Gabrielle Potter spotted the same thing as she walked from Holgate to the station at around 7.20am. She said: “I watched it and then it just disappeared – interesting to see! I took a photo as I’ve never seen anything like it before.”
But a space expert has been in touch to explain that rather than a meteor or falling piece of space debris, what the two woman saw was more likely a trick of the early morning light.
York man Chris Bergin who edits NASASpaceFlight.com said the pictures look just like the image created when contrails from an aircraft are caught in low angled light – like sunrise.
He said: “You can also see the trail is splitting in two, not quite parallel-wise – consistent with a two engine plane.
“Meteors enter with incredible speed and such events only last a matter of seconds due to their velocity and disintegration – the latter making them visible.”
“Most space hardware (junk or otherwise) is tracked by Space Command, protecting other space hardware – such as the International Space Station – from conjunction events and the event in the photo matches no tracking.
“As such, illuminated contrails from a aircraft – as impressive as it looks – is the highly likely conclusion.”