A MYSTERIOUS, slow-moving bright light appeared in the night sky above northern Britain on Saturday, trailing bewilderment and wonder in its wake.

Some questioned whether aliens were about to land, with one woman tweeting: “UFO invasion?! Ball of fire flew past my window!” Others called the Police. The most likely explanation, though, was an unusually bright shooting star, or meteor. Thousands of people spotted the chunk – or possibly chunks - of roughly fist-sized space rock burning up while coming through the earth’s atmosphere at an altitude of 60 or 70 miles or so at about 10pm.

As witnesses took to the internet to report their sightings, Tom Constantine, a self-employed businessmen, asked twitter users: “Did anyone see a shooting star/ball of fire over Knutsford?” David Konstantinou, of Glasgow, tweeted: “Seen a huge meteorite heading south. Huge white tail. Flashed green and red. Amazing sight. Made the hairs on my neck stand up.”

With worried people calling the Police, a Greater Manchester Police officer jokingly tweeted: “Sounds like we are being invaded by martians. Several sightings of a bright orange light over Salford!” Police in south-west Scotland, meanwhile, issued the message: “The large ball of fire in the sky is actually a low level meteor shower.”

The Met Office received dozens of calls within an hour of the light first appearing, and tweeted: "Hi All, for anyone seeing something in the night sky, we believe it was a meteorite."                     –Telegraph

 A spokesman for Strathclyde Police said the force had been "inundated" with calls about a bright object in the sky across the west of Scotland.

A Durham Police spokeswoman said a number of calls came in around 9.45pm from concerned members of public who had seen a "bright light or a fire in the sky" and believed it may have been incidents involving an aircraft.

She said: "It has been confirmed with air traffic control that there are no incidents of aircraft in difficult and nothing registered on radar. "The sightings are believed to be either an asteroid burning out or similar which has been restricted to the upper atmosphere only."

Grampian Police said reports of people seeing a "flare or a bright object with a tail" were received from across the region. And Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary said numerous calls were made about a "large ball of fire in the sky".

The Kielder Observatory also reported the sighting of a "huge fireball" travelling from north to south over Northumberland at 9.41pm. The Observatory posted on Twitter: "Of 30 years observing the sky #fireball best thing I have ever seen period."