Spectacular meteorite lights up skies

WITNESSES have reported seeing a tremendous fireball roaring through the skies above Wigan last night.

One local onlooker, John Hill, said: “I don’t know if any other people saw it, but a meteorite just shot across the sky very low and looked as though it was coming down at Windmill field or Haigh woods, Time was 17.35hrs very bright and was definitely coming down running from East to West and very low!”

Astronomers said the brightness of the meteor, a chunk of space rock burning up in the atmosphere, was unusual.

Dr David Whitehouse, astronomer and former BBC correspondent, said: “It’s a bright meteor called a fireball, extraordinarily bright.

“This a chunk of space rock perhaps the size of your fist, perhaps a bit larger, that is burning up as it comes through our atmosphere at an altitude of 60 or 70 miles or so.”

Janet Taylor, from Standish, added: “I was driving home along the M6 and just as I was approaching the exit at Standish I saw what sort of looked like a firework shooting across the sky.

“But it was much bigger and brighter than a firework, so I knew that it was something a lot more unusual and thought it might be a meteor.

“It was really low shooting across the sky and then it just exploded and all the bits of it broke up and faded.

“A few minutes later people started ringing in to Radio Five Live from all over the North West saying they had seen it as well.

“People from Southport, Blackburn, Bolton were all reporting the exact same thing I had seen, I understand that it is really rare seeing one of these so I feel really privileged.”