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Hunt is on to win reward for fireball from the sky

A meteorite that was seen flying through the Irish sky may have landed in the sea.

"It is still a possibility that the meteor fell in the sea off the Donegal coast," said David Moore, the Astronomy Ireland chairman.

But while it may have landed in water, Astronomy Ireland believes there is a 50/50 chance that the meteor could have landed on the mainland in Donegal.

If the meteorite is found, the question of ownership will arise. A £10,000 reward has been offered by Scottish meteorite hunter Robert Elliot, sparking a race to find the meteor.

In 1999, an elderly woman, who found a meteorite in Co Carlow in 1999, sold it to a private collector for several thousand pounds. Mr Moore is continuing to call on the public to report any sightings or video recordings of the fireball via their website.

"Any CCTV footage from last Wednesday at 6pm would be very helpful in predicting a more accurate location of the drop zone," he told the Herald.

It has now been confirmed that a YouTube video claiming to show the meteorite was a hoax -- having been available on the internet since 2008.

"We have received thousands of reported sightings, but only two or three per hundred have proved particularly useful," said Mr Moore.

The meteor was thought to be travelling at 100,000 miles per hour when it collided with the earth's atmosphere, resulting in a fireball.

These fireballs then burn up as shooting stars, which led to the meteorite that was seen in the Irish sky. Fireballs are a rare occurrence, particularly one as bright as last Wednesday's. Fireballs that are brighter than a full moon lead to the most intact meteors that fall to earth.

hnews@herald.ie


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