photographing a meteor over SW England

I haven’t posted much photography lately, but this is a worthy one.

Saturday evening I went on a walk with my girlfriend into the Leigh Woods just south of Bristol across the Clifton Suspension Bridge. On our return journey we were on the east side of the bridge when I set up my camera for a couple shots (I wound up taking a 1-second exposure). Just as I got the camera positioned and set up, I saw a bright green flash of light moving across the sky, both above and reflected in the Avon river below. By the time I clicked the shutter, at exactly 6:30 PM, this was all that was left:

This is a lower quality web-friendly version of my original photo.
A slightly cropped shot.
Here we are zoomed in yet closer.
Finally a shot with just the fireball/meteor and a star or planet behind it.

After checking online I found a weather discussion group where a person posted that they had seen:

 a five second flight, initially glowing white, then turning green heading southwards in the direction of Heathrow. large bright and low level. Cygnus to Andromeda I think.

Another person reported seeing en route to Chester, England (googlemap), which is over 100 miles north of Bristol, and another saw it from Plymouth, around 75 miles due south-west of us; and yet another (via twitter) saw it in London.

One observer wondered if it was the Russian satellite set to hit the earth today. However, according to the Daily Mail, that was/is supposed to come down somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, far from the UK. According to Mashable (following RT), the satellite didn’t come down until earlier today. And this Arabic news service suggests it happened right over Saudi Arabia. So just what it was that burned up over England Saturday night remains a mystery.

Suffice to say it is one of the most amazing things I have ever photographed (the astronomy nerd in me comes out), even if it was just a tiny portion of much grander and brighter flight.

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