An astrophysics expert believes that the object spotted traversing the sky above Kingston-upon-Hull was most likely a meteor from the annual Lyrid meteor shower that takes place every year in the period from the middle to the end of April, according to the Daily Mail.
“Without more context, the most likely explanation as to the object reported in the sky over Hull on Sunday evening is that it was a meteor,” said Professor Brad Gibson, Director of the E.A. Milne Centre for Astrophysics at the University of Hull, cited by the Daily Mail. “Between April 16 and 25 every year, we see the annual Lyrid meteor shower. During this time period, it is possible you could see anything between 10 and 15 visible per hour in the sky”.
The expert said that the cause of the Lyrid meteor shower is debris left by Comet Thatcher that visited the inner Solar System almost 160 years ago, in 1861. He added that the comet is expected to visit the Earth’s atmosphere again in the year 2276 and suggested that it might burn up entering the planet’s atmosphere.
“As said previously, without more context as to this particular sighting, it is difficult to give a definitive explanation,” Gibson said. “However, based on the time of year, it is entirely possible that the object reported by residents in Hull formed part of the Lyrid meteor shower”.
According to the Daily Mail, another similar bright object was spotted in the sky above Cambridge on Wednesday.
Deputy executive director of the Royal Astronomical Society, Robert Massey, suspected the Cambridge object to be “a lot like an aircraft contrail”.
“While it is impossible to say exactly what the object is without further evidence, it looks like an aircraft contrail that is laminated by the setting sun,” Massey suggested.