Meteor shower sparks terrorist fear.

The Scotsman

Spectacular shower of meteors sparked fear of air crash


COASTGUARDS were inundated with frantic phone calls at the weekend after a bright fireball was seen plunging from the sky over the Hebrides, prompting fears of a plane crash.

Seven shore rescue teams were scrambled from the Butt to Barra in a search of the islands' coastline.

A large-scale disaster was initially expected following the 999 calls.

But the emergency response was called off before any lifeboats were launched after an unusually spectacular meteor shower was deemed responsible for the fireworks in the sky.

A coastguard spokesman said: "We received numerous 999 calls with around 40 alone on Friday night.

"People were reporting seeing something like a plane going down with a trail of smoke behind it.

"It would have been a shooting star from the meteor activity. We discussed the situation with RAF Kinloss and other sources and concluded it was meteor activity.

"We got calls from all over such as Stoer on Skye and from Barra to Barvas."

The incident coincided with the Kappa Cygnid meteor stream which peaked at the weekend and continues for another fortnight.

Every seven years it may emit a series of bright fireballs.

Meteor showers can be caused by comets passing through space, leaving a trail of dust and ice.

If the Earth crosses this trail the comet fragments burn up in the atmosphere.

They appear from the ground as jets of bright light shooting across the sky. (external - login to view)
There are meteor showers every year, some predictable. Do these people live under a rock?

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