Fireball
© Alison Hepburn
Alison Hepburn sent us this picture of an object hurtling through the sky above Dundee.
An extra-terrestrial flash of light was snapped shooting across the Dundee sky.

The image, taken by city woman Alison Hepburn, shows an object burning through the skies over Glenconnor Drive. The 26-year-old science student said she did a double-take when she noticed an exceptionally bright light overhead.

She said: "It was just after 9am. It was the light I noticed - it was really, really bright. You know when you glance at something and then you glance back again? At first I thought it was an aeroplane, but I realised it couldn't have been. I took pictures and in the space of two minutes it was gone."

The Alloway Terrace resident added: "I wondered if it might be what's left of the comet that broke up recently."

But Dundee Astronomical Society secretary David Paterson said it was more likely to be a meteor - fire-hot dust and rocks tearing through space.

He said: "There is a meteor shower due about now - the showers are named after the constellations where they originate from.

"The one visible at the moment is the Geminids, which originates in the constellation Gemini. People will be able to see those shooting stars anywhere in the sky. It's due over December 12 and 13, but you can see them for a week or so either side of that date."

Comets move much slower through space than shooting stars, appearing almost stationary. However, David said there are comets to look out for over Dundee.

He said: "There is one you can see at the moment. Comet Lovejoy is visible through binoculars from about midnight to dawn - you'd have to get up early.

"Comet Ison was going to be really spectacular but it broke up going round the sun. It's unlikely the picture shows any debris from Ison, it's still too close to the sun.

"However, meteors are the rain of comets - so in a way the photographer was right.

"As the comets go round the sun they have a tail of dust and gas, if they come close to the Earth the grains burn up and we see shooting stars."