Fireball Reports from 2006

Fireball reports, especially those made from the British Isles and nearby areas, are always welcomed by the SPA Meteor Section. See the Making and Reporting Fireball Observations page on this website for details of what to record on seeing a fireball, where and how to report your data.

Below is a list of some of the fireballs reported to the Section from 2006. It mainly consists of those events seen away from the major meteor shower maxima (when fireballs are more common), unless the objects were not part of the meteor shower in question, or were particularly impressive. A "*" in the ‘Magnitude and Notes’ column indicates further details are given in the second table.

Table of Fireball Reports


Date Time (UT) Magnitude and Notes Observed from
06/01/1-2 00:39 -2/-4?; 2 reports Glasgow & Arran
06/01/11-12 22:41 -9/-13; 7 reports* England
06/01/14-15 ~20:29 Very bright Northamptonshire
06/01/21-22 ~20:55-21:00 -6/-8; 2 reports* Hants & Swansea
06/02/8-9 06:12 Bright Aberdeenshire
06/02/15-16 ~19:00 Bright Glasgow
06/02/15-16 ~00:25 -6/-10; 2 reports Cheshire & Lancs
06/02/16-17 ~19:30 Brilliant; sonic boom? Perth & Kinrosshire
06/02/20-21 19:40 Very bright Devon
06/02/21-22 19:40 +/- 10m -8/-10; 3 reports Co Durham, Cumbria & Merseyside
06/03/5-6 20:22 -5/-9 Nottinghamshire
06/03/10-11 18:40 +/- 5m Very bright; many reports?* SW England
06/04/6-7 ~01:00 Bright E Sussex
06/04/11-12 ~22:02 -6; sparkling fragments Buckinghamshire
06/04/15-16 ~22:30 -11/-13; many reports* Morocco
06/04/27-28 ~22:45 -8/-10 Suffolk
06/05/7-8 ~21:00 Bright; fragmented Buckinghamshire
06/06/15-16 ~22:35 Bright N Wales
06/07/3-4 ~02:00 -5 Suffolk
06/07/13-14 ~00:15 Full Moon brilliance Norfolk
06/07/14-15 20:47 +/- 2m -6/-10?; 5 reports* Central, S & SW England
06/07/18-19 22:53:51 -9; 11+ reports; imaged* SE England, Belgium, Netherlands
06/07/23-24 ~20:20 Bright London
06/08/17-18 ~21:15 Bright Somerset
06/08/18-19 ~21:20 Brilliant; multiple reports* Scottish Western Isles
06/08/26-27 ~23:45 Bright; fragmented Denbighshire
06/08/27-28 ~20:45 Bright; very slow Lancashire
06/08/28-29 ~21:05 Bright; 8 reports* England S of Hull
06/09/1-2 ~23:35 -6/-9? Northumberland
06/09/3-4 ~23:40 Very bright Staffordshire
06/09/7-8 20:02 Bright NE England
06/09/16-17 04:50 -4/-9?; 2 reports Wiltshire
06/09/27-28 ~02:50? Bright; timing uncertain Co Durham
06/10/2-3 ~22:30 Very bright Central London
06/10/2-3 ~05:10-05:30 -5/-9?; 2 reports* W London & Berks
06/10/6-7 ~20:30? Bright; timing uncertain Essex
06/10/7-8 22:50 -4/-6? Surrey
06/10/7-8 22:51 -4/-6?; 3 reports; imaged* Surrey, Essex & Hants
06/10/12-13 ~22:35 Very bright* Essex
06/10/13-14 ~20:35-20:45 -5/-10?; 6 reports* England S of Lincs
06/10/13-14 ~21:30 Very bright; slow* Suffolk
06/10/24-25 18:52 -3 or so Yorkshire
06/11/1-2 ~17:30-17:45 -8/-10 or more; 5 reports* England S of Derbys
06/11/17-18 19:00 Very bright; non-LEO Co Durham
06/11/18-19 01:27 -8; LEO; 1 minute train* Lancashire
06/11/19-20 ~03:05 Very bright; seen from indoors Lancashire
06/11/23-24 ~03:00-03:15 Bright; fragmented Surrey
06/11/25-26 ~07:15 Bright Hertfordshire
06/11/27-28 23:02 +/- 1m -9/-11; 4 reports; imaged* SE England & Netherlands
06/11/28-29 19:22 At least -4 Shropshire
06/11/28-29 ~21:34 Very bright; fragmented Renfrewshire
06/12/6-7 ~18:40-18:50 At least -7; 2 reports Yorks & W Midlands
06/12/11-12 ~17:16 At least -3/-5; 6 reports* Central & N England
06/12/11-12 ~18:30 Very bright Derbyshire
06/12/11-12 22:38 Brighter than -3; GEM? NE England
06/12/11-12 ~22:56 -8/-12?; 6 reports* Central & NW England
06/12/15-16 ~22:45-23:00 -10/-15?; 2 reports N Wales & W Midlands
06/12/17-18 ~18:30 Bright; 3 reports E Sussex, Essex & Lincs

Detailed Reports


Date Time (UT) Notes Details
06/01/11-12 22:41 -9/-13; 7 reports*; England Observations of the January 11-12 fireball arrived from sites near Blackpool on the Lancashire coast, south via Shropshire and the West Midlands to Luton, Buckinghamshire and Essex. Unfortunately, but as sometimes happens, the reports could not be fitted to a single solution for the fireball’s trajectory. The start was very poorly-seen, but may have been somewhere in a rough circle of about 45 km radius centred near Leith Hill in Surrey, in a similarly-sized area over the sea centred about 10 km SE of Mersea Island, Essex, or perhaps somewhere between these outlying limits. The meteor seemed to have begun at an unusually high altitude, perhaps ~150 +/- 10 km. The end of the visible trail was probably at ~50 +/- 10 km altitude, within a crudely circular area about 75 km in diameter, centred near Grantham in Lincolnshire. Assuming these details were approximately correct, the two outer start regions would have meant the trajectory trended between SSE-NNW to SE-NW, with a mean visible path-length of ~240 km to ~180 km, descending at an angle to the horizontal of between 22° to 33°. The large uncertainties in these parameters suggested an equally large possible atmospheric velocity range. Using visible-duration estimates for the trail, which averaged 3 to 5 seconds, solved to a range from ~50 to 65 km/sec, but the scatter in estimates could have shifted the range beyond this, from maybe 35 to 72 km/sec, the latter at the upper limit for natural meteoric atmospheric-entry velocities at the Earth. The implied start height would certainly fit to a higher-velocity object, since swifter meteoroids tend to begin ablating higher in the meteor layer than slower ones. No reports of sonic booms were received associated with the fireball, which with the relatively high end height and likely high velocity, would count against the survival of any meteorites. Extrapolating from the main potential trajectories, such a meteorite fall zone might have covered much of northern England, perhaps across Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cumbria, or the adjacent Irish and North Seas, north of about Sheffield. No reports of meteorite falls were received from any part of this large area afterwards, certainly.
06/01/21-22 ~20:55-21:00 -6/-8; 2 reports*; Hants & Swansea The January 21-22 fireball was probably quite distant to Britain, perhaps over the Bay of Biscay, or the eastern Atlantic off western Brittany.
06/03/10-11 18:40 +/- 5m Very bright; many reports?*; SW England Only vague details of reports to Police and Coastguards across southwest England, from the Hampshire coast westwards, were received regarding the March 10-11 fireball. No useful details could be established from those, regrettably.
06/04/15-16 ~22:30 -11/-13; many reports*; Morocco Although ordinarily too distant from the British Isles to feature on this list, several sightings of a brilliant fireball that passed over Morocco on April 15-16 arrived, thanks to an initial report from a group of British tourists who were camping in the Atlas Mountains of southern Morocco at the time. These details, plus those from a newspaper report kindly forwarded by their Moroccan guide, along with his own observations, suggested the object had fragmented early in its flight, possibly before it became visible, creating a cluster of circa six to eight main pieces. It may have passed on a roughly south to north track (or perhaps SW to NE), including over the country near the city of Fez in northern Morocco.
06/07/14-15 20:47 +/- 2m -6/-10?; 5 reports*; Central, S & SW England Five groups or individual observers spotted the July 14-15 fireball in strong twilight not long after sunset, so the suggested magnitude range of -6/-10 may be a little conservative. The witnesses were in Worcestershire, Lincolnshire, Surrey and Somerset. The available data indicated the object was possibly travelling roughly east to west, perhaps over Oxfordshire-Gloucestershire, but maybe ending as far west as south Wales
06/07/18-19 22:53:51 -9; 11+ reports; imaged*; SE England, Belgium, Netherlands The July 18-19 event was seen by people across much of SE England, Belgium and the Netherlands. Three European Fireball Network stations were lucky in catching the trail with all-sky cameras as well. Two were in Germany, one at Herford near Bielefeld, the other at Daun in Rheinland-Pfalz, while the third was at Oostkapelle in the Netherlands, run by Klaas Jobse. The spectacularly long trail Klaas imaged can be viewed from the link on his webpage. Various detailed descriptions were published subsequently, including in the Belgian VVS journal "Heelal" Vol. 51, No. 12 (December 2006), pp. 400-403 (see also the correction in "Heelal" Vol. 52, No. 2 (February 2007), p. 60), and by the leader of the VVS meteor group Christian Steyaert in the Dutch Meteor Society’s online journal e-Radiant for November 2006 (you’ll need a working knowledge of Dutch to get the most from either, but the illustrations and numerical tables still make sense even without knowing any Dutch). These amended some of the preliminary details in an earlier report by the Mira Public Observatory at Grimbergen in Belgium, which was issued almost immediately after the event. A further report, with numerical details on the object’s pre-atmospheric orbit and its intra-atmospheric orbit were given by Dieter Heinlein and Pavel Spurny in the German Arbeitskreis Meteore journal "Meteoros", Vol. 10, No. 1 (2007), pp. 25-28 (in German, but again the tables, images and illustrations remain quite readily understandable even without being able to read the language). The published details confirmed the initially-suggested trend of the object’s trajectory, from roughly SSE to NNW over western Belgium to the southern North Sea. The "Meteoros" report indicated the start was around 100 km altitude above a point about 30 km east of Lille (50.67° N, 3.67° E), and the end roughly 75 km ESE of Orford Ness in Suffolk (51.92° N, 2.33° E), at 45 km above the North Sea. The object’s atmospheric velocity was around 36-38 km/sec.
06/08/18-19 ~21:20 Brilliant; multiple reports*; Scottish Western Isles Most of the reports on the spectacular fireball of August 18-19 arrived in the form of very vague media notices, and just one eye-witness sighting was forwarded to the Section, by Tony Markham, Meteor Editor for The Astronomer magazine. This sighting was from Skye and it suggested the fireball had happened shortly after local sunset. It may have been travelling on a trajectory angled somewhere between south-north to west-east, and descending fairly shallowly. This was merely a best-estimate, however. The object seemed to have left a smoky trail visible in reflected light for about 30 minutes. Such meteoric smoke trails, composed of very fine dust particles, are extremely rare, and tend to happen only with especially large, often deeply-penetrating, meteoroids, the kind which can drop substantial meteorites. The much commoner ionization trains, which glow from their own energy-release, might last as long too before fading though, which could not be ruled-out in this case. Some of the media comments suggested, purely because it occurred at the shower’s maximum, that the fireball had been a κ Cygnid, but the path directions suggested here, if correct, would have excluded both a κ Cygnid or Perseid origin for the object.
06/08/28-29 ~21:05 Bright; 8 reports*; England S of Hull Judging by the witnesses’ data, the August 28-29 fireball had a very long path, was rather slow-moving, and left a persistent train for a short time. It apparently flew high over SE England on a generally north to south track, starting perhaps over the Leicestershire-Northants area. It may have passed across part of London, before ending over the Channel, or possibly northern France.
06/10/2-3 ~05:10-05:30 -5/-9?; 2 reports*; W London & Berks Both sightings of the early-morning October 2-3 fireball were given as separate postings on the SPA Forum here and here. It could not be definitely-established that they were both reports of the same meteor, however.
06/10/7-8 22:51 -4/-6?; 3 reports; imaged*; Surrey, Essex & Hants October 7-8 produced two fireballs within half a minute for the lucky witness in Surrey, who managed to photograph the second one, quite by chance. The image can be viewed on the SPA’s Gallery Forum. It seems likely this meteor was also spotted from Essex and Hampshire, and if so, it was probably high above the Picardy-Artois region of northern France, but this could not be confirmed.
06/10/12-13 ~22:35 Very bright*; Essex The eye-witness sighting for the October 12-13 fireball is on the SPA Forum.
06/10/13-14 ~20:35-20:45 -5/-10?; 6 reports*; England S of Lincs It is uncertain whether the six witnesses listed for the "earlier" October 13-14 fireball definitely all saw the same meteor, as some of the timings did not agree closely with one another, and a second, perhaps similar, fireball seems to have occurred about an hour later that night, as reported from Suffolk. It is even possible a third fireball may have happened at some other stage, likely between 19h-21h UT, though if so, that event was witnessed from only one location too. The "six" observers were spread over Devon, Hampshire, east London, East Sussex, Essex and Lincolnshire, and if that fortunate group did all see the same object, it may have had a trajectory trending somewhere between S-N to SE-NW, possibly high over Kent to East Anglia, or perhaps the sea offshore of this region.
06/10/13-14 ~21:30 Very bright; slow*; Suffolk
06/11/1-2 ~17:30-17:45 -8/-10 or more; 5 reports*; England S of Derbys A Special Report is available elsewhere on this site for the November 1-2 fireball, which includes an oil painting of the event, as seen by witness Garry Harwood in Hyde Park, London.
06/11/18-19 01:27 -8; LEO; 1 minute train*; Lancashire Quite a few fireballs other than those noted here for the November 17-18 to 19-20 period were reported from across the Leonid maximum weekend, including several sporadics, one Northern Taurid and some Leonids. The November 18-19 Leonid fireball may have been recorded by two radio meteor systems – an SPA Forum topic here has details on these – and also by the Jodrell Bank observatory in Cheshire.
06/11/27-28 23:02 +/- 1m -9/-11; 4 reports; imaged*; SE England & Netherlands The November 27-28 fireball seen from three sites in London, Essex and Surrey, was imaged by Klaas Jobse’s all-sky fireball patrol camera at Oostkapelle in Holland too. Two images are available from Klaas’ homepage, one an all-sky shot, the other a close-up of just the fireball’s trail. The available data suggested the object may have flown on a roughly NW to SE trajectory over the southern North Sea to the Strait of Dover, off the Essex, Kent to NE French coasts. A best-estimate implied a start at ~90-100 km altitude around 15-20 km south of The Naze in east Essex, and an end at ~55 km altitude over the sea perhaps 20 km NNE of Calais. If correct, this would infer an atmospheric path length between 70-80 km, descending at circa 30° from the horizontal. Timing estimates from Klaas’ image (his system used a rotating shutter, thus allowing the visible flight time to be measured), solved for a mean observed atmospheric velocity between 20 to 25 km/sec, though this did not allow for any deceleration caused by the atmosphere. Unfortunately, the path details could be established only crudely, as it seemed just one UK observer witnessed the trail close to the fireball’s start, while one more caught the end.
06/12/11-12 ~17:16 At least -3/-5; 6 reports*; Central & N England December 11-12 brought a fine crop of UK fireball observations. The ~17:16 UT event, seen from sites in East and South Yorkshire, Lancashire, Shropshire and Nottinghamshire, may have been moving roughly E to W across northern England, possibly above Yorkshire-Durham to Lancashire-Cumbria, to end perhaps over the Irish Sea, while the ~22:56 UT meteor was apparently trending generally north to south, probably above the Irish Sea too, but it may have ended either over west Wales or the adjacent sea. It was seen from places in Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Birmingham and Essex. Comments from some of the lucky witnesses can be found on the SPA’s Observing Forum.
06/12/11-12 ~22:56 -8/-12?; 6 reports*; Central & NW England

Prepared by Alastair McBeath, SPA Meteor Section Director.


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