Caught on camera: Flash in sky triggers meteor speculation
A huge flash in the sky over Scotland has prompted speculation that a meteor has burned up in the Earth's atmosphere.
The white light, which was seen across Perthshire, Aberdeenshire and the Highlands, was followed by a rumbling sound that lasted about 10 seconds.
Meteorologists have ruled out lightning and thunderstorms in the area, while police were also unable to explain the incident.
Sean Batty, a weatherman for STV, tweeted: "Looks as if the flash has come from a meteor burning up in the atmosphere, lighting up the full sheet of cloud sitting at around 2,000ft."
Looks as if the flash has come from a meteor burning up in the atmosphere, lighting up the full sheet of cloud sitting at around 2,000ft.— Sean Batty (@SeanBattySTV) February 29, 2016
Referring to the fireball that rocked Chelyabinsk in Russia three years ago, he added: "Could have been a bolide that's come from a near-Earth asteroid, similar to what happened in Chelyabinsk Feb 2013."
Bolide is another term for a fireball - a meteor that burns up, often causing an explosion, as it plunges through the Earth's atmosphere.
Jenni Morrison captured dash-cam footage of the event as she was driving in Aberdeenshire at about 6.45pm.
"It was absolutely weird," she said. "The sky lit up."
Flash and bang in the night sky over Scotland, X Files back on the telly, and it's a leap day. Make of that what you will...!— Peter Nimmo (@PeterNimmo1) February 29, 2016
Garry Hunter told the BBC he had seen the flash over Lumphanan in Aberdeenshire. He described it as "a huge fireball-like trail across the sky, which seemed to then explode and light up the whole sky".
Dee Scholes posted a video of the flash on Facebook, where it was shared more than 10,000 times in just two hours and drew more than 2,000 comments.
The incident also caused a frenzy on Twitter, with many speculating as to the cause.
"Flash and bang in the night sky over Scotland, X Files back on the telly, and it's a leap day. Make of that what you will...!" tweeted Peter Nimmo.
Another joked that British astronaut Tim Peake might have dropped something from the International Space Station.
Earlier this month, the largest fireball since the explosion over Chelyabinsk burned up over the Atlantic, releasing energy equivalent to the detonation of 13,000 tons of TNT.
Most of the estimated 30 small asteroids that burn up over Earth every year do not affect populated areas because they often fall over the oceans.