Thursday, 18 Jul 2024

UFO sighting in the west was 'probably' just a shooting star, says astronomer

It turns out the Millennium Falcon from ‘Star Wars’ is still the closest thing to a UFO being spotted over Kerry – with astronomers saying a recent sighting was merely a shooting star.

A number of planes flying over the county last Friday reported sightings of UFOs, prompting a call to Shannon Airport Traffic Control (SATC) from British Airways to ask if a military exercise was taking place. The call came in at 6.47am on Friday from a BA pilot flying in the area.

The pilot described a “really bright light” that came up alongside the plane before disappearing at “a very high speed”.

She said they were “wondering” what it could be, and that it did not seem to be on a collision course.

In a statement, the Irish Aviation Authority said: “Following reports from a small number of aircraft on Friday, November 9, of unusual air activity, the IAA has filed a report.

“This report will be investigated under the normal confidential occurrence investigation process.”

However, last night the chairman of Astronomy Ireland, David Moore, told the Irish Independent he was 99.9pc sure it was merely a fireball – another term for a very bright meteor.

Mr Moore said that his organisation received a number of reports of fireball sightings at the same time on Friday morning.

He said that one of the pilots had actually suggested it was a fireball.

“I’m just guessing the first pilots had seen one that bright before,” he said, adding that “it would be a bit unnerving” seeing one streaking past your aeroplane.

“They are completely random, they happen in broad daylight, they happen in the dead of night,” he said.

“I’m happy that these things happen for the average person, once in a lifetime.

“I’ve seen about a dozen of them,” he added.

However, in tongue-in-cheek remarks, Mr Moore did not rule out the possibility of it being aliens.

“The aliens could be very clever, and what it could be is the aliens, to disguise their presence, fire a meteor into the atmosphere.

“All the astronomers think it’s just a meteor and then they swoop in themselves afterwards and get lost in the confusion,” he said.

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