Elon Musk ‘Space Junk’ Not To Blame For Fireball Over NI & Scotland29th Sep 2022
Reports stated that a fireball over Northern Ireland and Scotland was space junk from Elon Musk’s satellite programme. However, this has been proven to be incorrect.
The fireball across NI
The fireball was visible for approximately 20 seconds on 14th September. Approximately 800 reports were received from Northern England, North Ireland, and Scotland. Videos surfaced, showing an object breaking apart across the night sky, as it headed in a north-western direction.
No links to Elon Musk’s programme
Rumors began circulating that the fireball could be linked to Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket launch programme. An astronomer for UK Meteor Network, John Maclean, had initially said that it was travelling too slowly to be a meteor, leading him to conclude that it was likely to be space junk.
He said the following:
“If you look at the videos, the way it breaks up is more consistent with a piece of space debris. Meteors do break up when they come through the atmosphere, but usually near the end of their trajectory. This was breaking up much higher.”
He stated that a Starlink satellite from Elon Musk’s SpaceX firm was the most likely reason for the fireball. However, the UK Meteor Network has since retracted this.
On Thursday, 15th Sept 2022, the UK Meteor Network published the following on their Twitter account:
“We have checked the Starlink de-orbit, and it would not have come anywhere near the UK. At this point, we cannot find any known space junk or satellite de-orbit that could account for this fireball. We are looking at the data again.”
Likely to be more fireballs in the future
John Maclean has stated that he expects to see more fireball sightings in the future because of space junk. Despite the fact that it seems unlikely Elon Musk’s SpaceX was to blame, there is no denying that space debris is an issue of great discussion at present.