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Meteor lights up Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 14:25 03 December 2001 | UPDATED: 10:58 03 March 2010

SKYWATCHERS were treated to a spectacular ball of fire streaking across the heavens as a meteor shower lit up the countryside and sea.

Many people across the Ipswich and Felixstowe area saw nature's very own fireworks display as the meteoroids fell through the earth's atmosphere.

SKYWATCHERS were treated to a spectacular ball of fire streaking across the heavens as a meteor shower lit up the countryside and sea.

Many people across the Ipswich and Felixstowe area saw nature's very own fireworks display as the meteoroids fell through the earth's atmosphere.

Coastguards received a number of calls but said most people were not worried by what they had seen and recognised the pyrotechnics as a meteor shower.

Highways worker Michael Slinn, of Levington Road, Ipswich, had been fishing off Felixstowe beach when he saw the shower over the North Sea.

"It didn't look that far away. It was a massive ball of fire and then it broke into seven pieces. It was spectacular," he said.

Russell Broadley, of Grange Farm, Kesgrave, said "My 17-year-old son left the house to walk his girlfriend home. A few minutes later he came back in and told us to go outside and look at the sky.

"They had seen what they said looked like a star that seemed to be getting brighter.

"What we saw looked like an aeroplane, but totally silent. It then broke into three pieces, each piece trailing huge flames. By now they appeared to be quite close, maybe one or two miles away, then they instantly disappeared."

A Thames Coastguard spokesman said the meteor shower had happened at about 10.30pm on Saturday night and prompted a number of calls.

"We had calls from Clacton to north of Felixstowe and most people described seeing the same thing. We were able to reassure people that it was a meteor shower," he said.

In late October, another meteor shower sparked fears of a major disaster and emergency services had to reassure panic-stricken callers that they were not witnessing an air crash or a terrorist missile attack.

On that occasion, eye witnesses also described seeing a "a ball of fire" but one accompanied by multi-coloured flares and explosions, like an amazing rocket going off.

Meteors appear as a streak of light in the sky that results when a particle or small chunk of stony or metallic matter enters the earth's atmosphere and vaporizes.

Sometimes they are parts of comets travelling on a set path through the universe and can be plotted and forecast by astronomers as they reappear at regular intervals.


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