Police forces across the UK have reported a rash of calls from people concerned over what is thought to be a meteor or fireball.

Callers described a bright light and an orange glow coming across the north of England and Scotland at around 9:40 GMT on Saturday. Police officials from Scotland to Devon said many of the callers were concerned that a plane had crashed. However, it was later confirmed that there were no incidents involving an aircraft over UK skies.

Meteors are substantial rocks originating in outer space that heat up and emit light when they enter the earth's atmosphere, sometimes forming a fireball effect.

Meteorites are larger and more durable, surviving the heat of the atmosphere to land on Earth. It remains unclear if that happened on Saturday evening.

Occasionally you get a very big piece of debris coming into the earth's atmosphere and this causes a fireball, Professor David Whitehouse, an astronomer, told the BBC. When you see this fireball breaking up, you're seeing the wreckage of a planet that couldn't form properly when the solar system was young and a bit of rock that has been orbiting the sun for perhaps thousands of millions of years.

Thousands of people took to Twitter Saturday evening to tweet about what they'd seen.

The Met Office reassured followers by tweeting: Hi All, for anyone seeing something in the night sky, we believe it was a meteorite.

The Kielder Observatory in far northern England was ecstatic about the sighting.

HUGE FIREBALL spotted over Northumberland, the observatory tweeted. North to south visible horizon to horizon.

Of 30 years observing the sky #fireball best thing I have ever seen period.

Other Twitter users described the object in the sky as having a tail with bright orange flames that looked like a plane on fire going down.

Adrian West of Meteorwatch said the meteor may have gone down in the English Channel or the Bay of Biscay.

View footage of the March 3 meteor below:


Did you see anything in the sky over England or Scotland Saturday night? Share your experience in the comments below.