Just a couple of months ago, we reported on Mossmorran flaring, and if anyone remembers, at the same time of the flaring, there was two lines streaked across the skyline, which was visible for hours.

Light in Sky by @Wandahope
Light in Sky by @Wandahope

From the local area, the streak in the sky was very distinct and separate from Mossmorran, however from a distance the streak in the sky looked as if it was part of the flaring incident.

Mossmorran & Light in Sky, photo by @SaoirseTA
Mossmorran & Light in Sky, photo by @SaoirseTA

Prior to the flaring, Twitter had been alight with eye witness reports noticing the streak in the sky, but also coloured lights falling to the Earth. Speculation ran rampant on Twitter from Northern Lights to UFO’s, then Mossmorran began it’s flare, and people treated the other information as part of the Mossmorran Flare, and that eye witnesses had made a mistake on what they had been seeing.

During that time, there was also the asteroid; DA14 heading towards the planet which would pass very closely between our artificial satellites and the planet, and on the closest approach, a meteorite struck in Russia. The Russian Meteorite and Asteroid DA14 were treated as separate incidents by NASA.

Fast forward to the late evening of last night (24th April 2013), and one of our board members had been in touch to report the same streak in the sky, at around 11pm. This was very visible for around an hour before fading, and was visible over the Cowdenbeath area from Lochgelly.

The streak in the sky was lightly illuminated, and again on Twitter, some people thought that maybe Mossmorran was flaring again. A resident in North Fife confirmed that no flaring was present from Mossmorran and that the streak was similar to the last time Mossmorran had been flaring.

One of our volunteers had been in the South Street area at around 10pm, when they passed a resident who spotted a bright light, which they thought was a low flying plane, before it quickly disappeared, and the resident made a joke, that it was probably just a spaceman.

We have been unable to find any reports to explain the streak in the sky that happened in February, and repeated last night. Both events had reports of bright lights in the sky. Logically, the streaks would suggest a large object has skimmed past our atmosphere to create the streak, and the bright lights, we would assume is due to a meteor shower.

February, there was no reports or expectation of a meteor shower, yet there was Asteroid DA14, whether or not this is connected is up for debate. As for the light show last night, the streak in the sky is currently unexplained, but according to Sky-Watching there is currently the Lyrid Meteor Shower, which has been going on from the 17th April, and is expected to finish today, with the peak of the meteor shower, already passed on the 22nd of April.

This may explain the light show last night, and any keen sky watchers may want to watch the skies tonight in case what we witnessed is the Lyrid Meteor shower which can sometimes have a surge of over 100 per hour.

Update – 1:47pm 25th April 2013

We’ve received some additional information that may explain the streaks in the sky, it appears that it may have been a natural phenomena named ‘Ice Pillars’ and looking at Wikipedia;

Light pillars are a kind of optical phenomenon which is formed by the reflection of sunlight or moonlight by ice crystals that are present in the Earth’s atmosphere.

The light pillar looks like a thin column that extends vertically above and/or below the source of light. The light pillar is prominently visible when the Sun is low or lies below the horizon. It normally forms an arc that extends from five to ten degrees beyond the solar disc. Light pillars can sometimes also be seen arising from the Moon.

Light pillars are formed by reflection from ice crystals with roughly horizontal faces.

Light pillars have also been known to produce false UFO reports. Niagara Falls is one such area, where the mist from the Niagara Falls causes the phenomenon to appear frequently during the winter months, where the ice crystals interact with the city’s many upward facing spotlights to create prominent light pillars.

Light Pillars could also be formed by man made light sources.

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_pillar

Photograph Credits

The two photographs we have published is copyright to;

  1. @Wandahope
  2. @SaoirseTA

Celestial Events

Other sky events to look out for this year, is the comet; ISON which will pass very closely to our Sun. If the comet survives it’s close passage to the Sun, it is expected to make the comet very bright and visible in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres, during the daytime and evening from around November 2013 to January 2014.

Comet ISON is already being dubbed as the possible ‘comet of the century’ and will be worth watching if the Sun doesn’t disintegrate the comet on it’s passage. You can learn more about comet ISON at: http://sky-watching.co.uk/2013/04/24/hubble-eyes-up-comet-ison/.

If there is any keen sky watchers in the Lochgelly or Fife area, who would like to keep our local area informed of any sky events, please get in touch or register an account, and help keep us informed of any events that will be visible in the Fife area.

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