Emergency services fielded reports of a ‘green flare’ over the Western Isles last night, as amateur astronomers were preoccupied with the landing of NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars.
Stornoway Coastguard operations centre had a report of a large, bright, green light falling towards the ground from Finsbay in Harris at 9.21pm.
This was followed at 9.37pm by a call from Police Scotland saying that a green flare had been seen by a resident of Baleshare in North Uist, falling earthwards to the south-east, over Grimsay.
A coastguard spokesman said the UK system then logged calls from all over Britain, with the light seen throughout the west coast of the UK and as far east as Fortrose.
The UK Meteor Network, an unofficial network of skywatchers using automatic cameras, also logged reports of meteor and fireball sightings between 9pm and 10pm in Surrey, Hull and the West Midlands, while the Yorkshire Post reported a flurry of sightings in Leeds.
There’s been no official confirmation of what the object may have been. The next meteor shower expected this year is the Lyrids, between 16 and 25 April.
Pictures show a captured image of the ‘fireball’ in Surrey (UK Meteor Network) and an image of a previous fireball captured over Loch Erisort in September 2017 by Croft One photography.