A ‘UFO‘ sighting in Scotland and across the UK has been explained by a top space expert.
Dozens of reports and photos flooded social media last night of a strange light shooting across the sky. Possible explanations varied from a police or offshore helicopter to an alien landing.
One man shared an image of the spectacle above the Lidl in Seaton, Aberdeen around 10.30pm on Monday September 27.
Posted on Facebook, others commented that the mysterious item above had also been seen in other parts of the country.
Ellon, Portlethen and Peterhead were all mentioned as well as Perthshire and Bishopbriggs and as far south as Shrewsbury, Shropshire.
One person joked: “They are dropping off diesel to shell on Anderson drive.”
Another person added under an image of the ‘UFO’ in Bishopbriggs: “They’re looking for fuel to get home. It just ET 2.”
However, Scotland’s leading space expert has since explained the sightings.
Speaking exclusively to the Record, space technology engineer, Dr Malcolm Macdonald said: “Yesterday evening an Atlas V rocket launched from California (Vandenberg space force base) to deliver the Landsat-9 spacecraft to orbit, alongside some much smaller spacecraft.
“The Centaur upper stage (a rocket like this is actually several rockets on top of each other, termed stages) performed a de-orbit burn over the UK just after 10 o’clock our time.
“This is a manoeuvre that means the upper stage doesn’t stay in orbit, and so helps prevent build-up of space debris (littering in space) which can cause problems for other spacecraft.
“The exhaust gases from this manoeuvre, due to the time of day was illuminated by the Sun even though it was dark on the ground which is what a lot of people seen and put photos of on social media.”
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