SPA Meteor Section

Call for reports: Brilliant bolide over northern England, 2000 January 9

You may already have seen one of the notices I circulated earlier this week about the very bright meteor that crossed over northern England on January 8-9. However, in case you didn't, the following is an update on where we are now with this object's analysis.

A brilliant bolide of perhaps magnitude -15 to -20 (at its brightest near the line of flight) was seen at 01:56 UT on 2000 January 9 passing across northern England. Eye-witness reports are in so far from near Dublin, Cardiff, Mansfield, Leeds and a significant cluster from the Cleveland/Durham region. We have managed to establish a very tentative ground track for the visible flight from these, running between somewhere near or west of Appleby in Cumbria to a point over the North Sea about 10+km offshore of Seaton Sluice, Northumberland, crossing directly over part of the conurbations of Newcastle and Gateshead. Acoustics were heard from several sites in Cleveland and here at Morpeth in Northumberland (though the meteor wasn't seen from here sadly; the explosive/thunder-like sounds were very clearly audible from indoors, however), and there is a single report of possible simultaneous electrophonic sounds associated with the fireball's flight from Cleveland so far. Splashdown of any meteorites would have been well out into the North Sea unfortunately.

We are very anxious to obtain reports from north of this proposed track to confirm and help further refine it however, so if you or any of your friends or colleagues saw the event, please forward full details as soon as possible. Positions for the start and end of the trail with respect to the stars, or azimuths and altitudes compared to the horizon, would be especially welcomed, but all details (no matter how seemingly trivial) may be important.

Many thanks for your time and cooperation.

Alastair McBeath,
SPA Meteor Section Director.
Please send your reports of this bolide to Alastair McBeath, ( or Shelagh Godwin, (

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