THERE have been almost 800 reports of a mysterious “fireball” lighting up the sky across Scotland last night. 

The UK Meteor Network said it began receiving reports of a fireball spotted about 9pm.

The network said it was “investigating to ascertain what the object was, meteor or space debris” but added it was likely space junk re-entering Earth's atmosphere.

On Thursday morning, it added: "There have been nearly 800 reports of the fireball that was seen over UK last night. The preliminary trajectory has been calculated by the [International Meteor Organisation] and indicates that the object, which we now believe to be space debris, would have landed in the Atlantic south of the Hebrides."

Danny Nell, 21, was walking his dog in Johnstone, just west of Paisley and Glasgow, when he saw the fireball. 

The Glasgow resident told the PA news agency: “I was walking my dog and it was strangely enough 10pm on the dot and I just saw the flash in the sky and pulled out my phone and recorded it.

“I thought it may be a firework at first because there was a lot of Scottish football on but quickly realised it wasn’t and just grabbed my phone to see if I could catch it."

Steve Owens, astronomer and science communicator at the Glasgow Science Centre, saw the fireball as it passed over Scotland on Wednesday evening. 

He told BBC's Good Morning Scotland: "It was incredible, I was sitting in my living room at exactly 10 o'clock last night and saw out the window due south this brilliant fireball, this meteor streaking across the sky, and I could tell that it was something special because I could see through broken cloud, it wasn't perfectly visible, I could see that it was fragmenting, breaking apart, there were little bits coming off it. 

"And normally if you see a meteor or a shooting star they are just tiny little streaks of light, they last for a fraction of a second, this one was streaking across the sky for at least 10 seconds probably longer than that and it travelled from due south all the way across to the west so it was a pretty incredible sight.”

The National: Image Credit: UK Meteor Network Image Credit: UK Meteor Network (Image: UK Meteor Network)

He said it is possible it could have landed but said it is “highly unlikely” it landed in Scotland.

Owens added: “It looked like it was travelling a fair distance as these things do and it was fairly flat across the sky as I saw it.

“The UK Meteor Network, which has had hundreds of reports from around Scotland and further afield, is going to be able to triangulate all of those reports to work out its trajectory, it looked to me like it was heading, it was certainly heading towards the west and given that people in Northern Ireland were reporting seeing it, it could well have passed over land and ended up in the Atlantic but it’s certainly not impossible that it landed, finding it will be the challenge.”