Meteor spotted over north Northumberland

Picture by Richard Thomas
Picture by Richard Thomas
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A Gazette reader took this photo of what he presumes is a meteorite or meteor in the sky above north Northumberland early on Christmas Day. Did anyone else spot it?

The picture, by Richard Thomas, was taken at 8.30am yesterday on the beach between Newton and Embleton before sunrise and features an object Mr Thomas described as ‘very distinct’.

It is perhaps likely to be a meteor rather than a meteorite as a meteor is a small particle from an asteroid or comet orbiting the sun that is observed as it burns up in the Earth’s atmosphere – a shooting star, while a meteorite is one that survives its passage through the Earth’s atmosphere and hits the surface.

It is not the only thing that has attracted attention to our skies after spectacular Northern Lights displays were spotted from Craster and then from Bamburgh earlier this week.

Known as the Aurora Borealis, the light show is caused by charged particles colliding in the Earth’s atmosphere and is seen above the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemisphere.

Before a display, electrons and protons are hurled from the sun’s atmosphere and are blown towards the Earth by the solar wind. Often these particles are then deflected by the Earth’s magnetic field, but as it is weaker at either pole, some particles enter the atmosphere and collide with gas particles.