Meteor shower over Wigan

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THE skies above Wigan briefly lit up with a spectacular display of light thought to be caused by meteors last night.

People across the town were amazed to view trails of blazing coloured light, probably due to small rocks from space burning up as they enter the Earth’s atmosphere, hurtling through the darkness just after 11pm yesterday.

Although the light display lasted just a few brief seconds, it was witnessed across Britain, with sightings of yellow, white or green lights being reported from Cornwall to Northern Ireland.

Reports agreed the burst of colour in the night sky was much larger and lower than those caused by shooting stars.

Lee Taylor, from Standish, was among those who saw the rare phenomenon.

Lee, of Essex Road, said: “I just saw it out of the corner of my eye as I was sat watching TV. It filled the sky from where I was.

“It was a collection of bright yellow-whitish lights going across the sky very quickly, and I could see it for about 15 seconds before it disappeared out of view. It reminded me of when the space shuttle broke up, it looked like that.

“I’ve never seen anything like that before, I’ve seen shooting stars but this was just amazing. It’s incredible when you consider it’s just bits of space dust and rock burning up, because it looked massive.

“I’m quite interested in space so I knew straight away it was a meteor, but much lower than any I’ve seen before.”

Firefighters at Wigan station, located at the Saddle junction, were among those who got a good view, with the light display clearly seen over the back of the building.

Their colleagues in Leigh did not see the meteors themselves, but received several calls reporting flames and lights in the sky.

Astronomers said the light show was probably caused either by a meteor entering the Earth’s atmosphere or a satellite or other object falling back to Earth and burning up.