Image
© Leigh-Ann Mitchell
Wow
An aurora-hunting north-east photographer has captured a stunning image of a meteorite fireball falling to earth. Leigh-Ann Mitchell, from Ellon, had been out at the weekend scouring the night skies for any sign of the Northern Lights. The self-proclaimed "aurora chaser" settled at Pitfour Estate in Mintlaw, where she thought she had the best chance.

But the 40-year-old amateur snapper got more than she bargained for when she captured the moment a fireball from the Taurid meteor shower fell from the sky, combined with the heavenly aurora glow.

The shower is notorious for producing fireball flares, and experts said this year would be the best chance to witness them yet.


Comment: Interesting comment about it being the 'best chance yet' - is that perhaps because of the incredible uptick in meteor fireball activity?


Mrs Mitchell's photograph has been viewed thousands of times since it was taken in the very early hours of Saturday morning, and shared across social media in every corner of the globe. Meteorologists across the world have also praised the stunning image, saying she captured a once-in-a-lifetime event.

She said it was a phenomenon she never expected to see, and that she had simply been in the right place at the right time.

"I'm a keen aurora chaser so I'm out with the camera at any opportunity," she explained.

"I often visit Pitfour during the day as it's a wonderful place with the camera. I checked recently with my phone compass what angle north would be over the lake with an aurora shot in mind. Myself and my husband are radio amateurs so we follow the space weather sites online and keep a keen eye on the data. Friday and Saturday were looking good so we headed up to Pitfour around 8.30pm, but nothing exciting was happening so we headed back home. More data came through around midnight so we headed back up around 12.30am to get some good colour from the aurora.

"I started shooting and from nowhere a bright streak of light came down over the lake in front of us and a green fireball lit up the whole sky then burned out. Thank goodness the camera was shooting a 30 second exposure and captured the shot.

"I guess we were in the right place at the right time."