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BRIGHT FIREBALL ON 3 MARCH 2012

Many reports are coming in of a bright fireball, visible at about 21:40 UT on Saturday, 3rd March 2012. That night the skies were exceptionally clear over large parts of the UK, and many people had been out observing the nice display of the Moon and planets visible that evening.

Gerard Gilligan of Liverpool AS reported that about 20-30 members who were still at the site of the March Wirral Star Party witnessed the magnificent fireball, which rounded off their very busy and successful evening in spectacular fashion.

Sightings have so far been received over a wide area extending from Scotland down through the Lake District to Merseyside. Many eyewitnesses have reported that the fireball was clearly fragmenting towards the end of the track. Observations of this fireball from locations on the eastern side of the Pennines would be particulary useful.

Any BAA members who saw this event, or who may have been contacted by non-astronomers who witnessed it, are asked to collect as much information about the sighting as possible and send it either to the BAA Meteor Section’s Fireball Co-ordinator Len Entwisle at len.entwisle@btinternet.com or to meteor@britastro.org.

Useful information will include the name and location of the observer, the precise time of the event, the altitude and azimuth of the start and end points of the visible track, the position of the observed track against the background stars (or in relation to the waxing gibbous Moon and Mars in the sky, if seen towards the south-east), and a description of the fireball’s visual appearance, colour, etc. together with any unusual features.

It is clear from some of the reports in the national news media that there were other bright meteors visible during the evening of Saturday, 3rd March, but this appeal relates particularly to the event occurring at about 21.40 UT.

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