Witnesses film ‘fireball’ hurtling across the sky as they’re left wanting answers

  • Poeple in Ireland were left stunned after they spotted a ‘fireball’ falling through the sky
  • The event occurred just before 17:50 on February 20
  • It’s believed it may have been space debris – possibly the ERS-2 satellite dropping back to Earth after nearly 30 years in space

Published on Feb 22, 2024 at 7:44 PM (UTC+4)
by Adam Gray

Last updated on Feb 23, 2024 at 4:00 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Alessandro Renesis

Witness were left in shock recently when a mysterious ‘fireball’ was spotted blazing through the sky.

One such witness, social media account CountyDownCycling, managed to capture footage of the ‘meteor’ zipping overhead.

The incident took place just before 17:50 over Ballynahinch village in County Galway, Ireland on February 20.

READ MORE! Astronaut snaps once-in-a-lifetime image of Earth on his last day in space

People in Connacht, one of the four provinces of Ireland, caught sight of the ‘fireball’ in the sky and initially believed it was meteor coming down to Earth.

But, as is typical in this day and age, they turned to X for more answer on where it had come from.

Someone near Rockchapel village in North County Cork (Munster province), suggested it looked like a shooting star that then “exploded”.

Others, though, said the thing spotted in the sky was green, which happens a lot with space rubbish, as metals like nickel, copper, and boron get really hot and glow green.

Whilst everyone was guessing what the ‘fireball’ was, they eventually came to the conclusion that it must’ve been a chunk of space debris.

Many believe it may have been an old satellite from the European Space Agency (ESA) that had come back into orbit.

Back in 1995, a satellite called ERS-2 was sent up to check out the ozone layer, see how warm the sea surface is, and watch the winds over the ocean.

This information helps us understand climate change better.

However, in 2011, ERS-2 was ‘retired’, and its orbit shrunk from around 785 km (488 mi) to 573 km (356 mi) so it wouldn’t bump into working satellites.

According to the Space Debris Office of the ESA, who are keeping a close eye on the situation, the satellite was expected to drop back down to Earth some time in mid-February.

If that’s the case, the ‘fireball’ could likely be the old satellite, which was expected to splash down in the South Pacific Ocean, although it’s not known if and when it came down.

In other space-related news, the Webb telescope has made an unexpected discovery while searching the outskirts of the solar system.

# Tags - Lifestyle, Space


Adam Gray

Adam Gray is an experienced motoring journalist and content creator based in the United Kingdom. Using his media accreditation with manufacturers’ press offices, Adam test drives the latest cars and attends new vehicle press launches, producing written reviews and news pieces for supercarblondie.com. Before joining the Supercar Blondie team, Adam was Motoring Editor for Portfolio North magazine, North East Motoring Editor at Reach plc, and provided motoring content on a freelance basis to several lifestyle and business publications in the North of England. When he’s not behind the wheel of the latest car, Adam can be found at his local rink playing ice hockey or supporting his beloved Middlesbrough FC.