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Hunt is on to catch a fallen meteorite

EXCITED astronomers are hot on the trail of a meteorite they believe may have struck Ireland on Saturday night.

For a few seconds around midnight on Saturday, parts of the country were lit up "as if the sun had reappeared in the sky", Astronomy Ireland said last night.

"We're trying to get as many people as possible to send us a report if they saw it," said David Moore, the organisation's chairman.

The flash of light is believed to have been the meteorite crashing into the earth's atmosphere.

"When they burn up, they can drop as a meteorite on the ground or sea," said Mr Moore.

There have been two major explosions in the skies over Ireland in the past two decades. One was a Russian military satellite that exploded and the other was a meteorite found in Carlow in 1999 and which was later bought "for thousands" by a collector.

In an effort to help locate where the meteorite fell, Astronomy Ireland wants anyone who saw the explosion to log on to www.astronomy.ie and fill in the 'Fireball' report.