Has Huddersfield ever had a meteorite strike?

That question received the most online votes in our #AskExaminer feature.

Taking a look at newspaper cuttings it is clear that the skies over the town have been lit many times by meteors.

On July 2 1974 we reported on a ‘Great ball of fire’ and said: “A brilliant fireball was seen flashing across the sky over Huddersfield yesterday.

“It was seen just after midnight by Mr John Graham Hosty, a member of the Kirklees District Astronomical Association who was watching satellites for the British Astronomical Association.

“He describes the fireball as having a head shaped like a tadpole and being very brilliant. It was visible for a few seconds twenty-five degrees above the Southern horizon.”

Sadly, there was no trace of it having landed.

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On July 29 1995, the Examiner reported a ‘Meteor night surprise’ and said: “Local drinkers who feared they may have had one too many last night were told today the lights they saw in the sky were real.

“It was probably a meteor storm, said Huddersfield Astronomical Society. One man said: ‘I had six pints and thought I’d overdone it when I saw the lights.’”

In December 2010 stargazers in Huddersfield and elsewhere spotted a meteor-like streak of light crossing the night sky.

Carolyn Levitt, of Honley, told the BBC: “I spotted the fireball from my living room window at around 17.30. It was so extraordinary, I jumped to my feet to get a better look but it was gone.

“My daughters and son thought I had been on the bottle and have poked fun at me most of the night but I knew what I saw was nothing like I had ever seen before in my life.”

Experts said it was a bright meteor ‘fireball’. Again, no evidence of it striking the ground.

A meteor shower taking place over Scotland in 2015

A similar fireball was witnessed in Huddersfield in July 2013. It was judged to be a meteorite and, because of its brightness, may have been large enough to survive and hit the ground – although no-one had a clue where to start looking.

According to website Meteorite History, only a handful of confirmed meteorites have been discovered in Yorkshire.

In 2005 a meteorite weighing 37lbs was found on moorland near Hambleton, Yorkshire, which may have been related to the fireball which exploded over York in 1783.

Examiner cutting from July 29 1995

The oldest meteorite to fall on the UK – aged around 4.6 billion years old – was seen to fall in Wold Cottage, near Driffield, East Yorkshire, on December 13 1795. It sent soil flying and weighed 55lbs – the largest meteorite observed to fall in Britain.

A meteorite fell at Appley Bridge, Lancashire, on October 13, 1914, following a “thunder-like explosion” heard as far away as Halifax. It was found 18 inches below the surface of a farmer’s field and weighed almost 33lbs.

* Additional research by Huddersfield Local Studies Library.

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