Meteor mystery

RNLI teams were called out on Sunday after reports of a distress flare which turned out to be a large meteor over the skies of Galloway.

Sightings of a “large, red, moving object” near the Isle of Whithorn, Kirkcudbright, Dalbeattie and parts of Cumbria led to Workington RNLI launching a crew to scour the Solway but standing down after a thorough search turned up nothing.

Witnesses with a clear view from in and around the Dark Sky Park here in Galloway described the object as a long, bright light which appeared to be “burning up” as it passed overhead.Some locals feared it to be an aircraft falling from the sky and others believed it to be too big and bright for a standard meteor and called the emergency services.

Although no definitive answer has been given for what the spectacular sight was, staff at The Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park offered a suggestion: “Many people spotted the fireball streaking across the night sky on Sunday night.

“Was it a meteor or was it space junk burning up? Our opinion that this was space junk due to two facts – the intensity and two similar fire balls being seen in other countries just across the North Sea.

“We may never know – that’s what is so great about space.”

A similar sight was also spotted over Loch Ness.

The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it beauty came in the same week as today’s solar eclipse which was expected to begin at around 8.25am. See pages three and 36 for more on this incredibly rare phenomenon.

Did you see the meteor or the eclipse? Let us know what you thought by emailing or on our Facebook and Twitter pages.