A super bright fireball lit up the sky as it roared through the atmosphere over Scotland on Monday night. Witnesses said they heard the sonic boom and some thought they were going to be struck by lightning.
"The sonic booms were loud enough to make the pheasants squawk, roosting in the trees," one witness reported to the American Meteor Society. "I knew by the intensity of the flash that there would be a 2-3 minute delay on a likely boom, because of chelyabinsk, so I switched on by voice recorder which I keep in my pocket."
The "Chelyabinsk" was a superbolide meteor that injured over 1,000 people, shattered windows and collapsed roofs in Chelyabinsk, Russia in February 2013.
Ross Stewart was flying in a helicopter at the time of Monday night's fireball. "I noticed a few small clouds that seemed to be glowing slightly, then the whole sky above the chopper lit up followed by a series of flashes," Stewart told the BBC. "I thought we were going to be hit by lightning."
According to the American Meteor Society, March is the slowest month for meteor activity in the Northern Hemisphere, but interestingly, fireballs are frequent this month.
"No major annual showers are active and only a few very weak minor showers produce activity this month," the society wrote in an outlook. "There is not much to look forward to this month except for the evening fireballs that seem to peak this time of year from the northern hemisphere. This could be due to the fact the Antapex radiant lies highest above the horizon this time of year during the evening hours.
The antapex is the astronomical term for the point in the sky away from which Earth is moving, and the stars appear to be converging. The antapex is directly opposite the solar apex, near Vega, where the solar system appears to be moving toward relative to the stars.