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Last Updated: Monday, 21 August 2006, 15:19 GMT 16:19 UK
Fireball sparks plane crash alert
Meteor - generic
Meteors are easier to spot with darker nights
A meteor shower sparked fears a large aircraft was crashing into the sea off the Hebrides.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency in Stornoway received dozens of calls on Friday night about a fireball falling from the sky.

Lifeboat crews in the Western Isles were alerted as emergency services prepared for a large scale disaster.

However, the cause of the fireball was linked to meteor shower Kappa Cygnid which peaked at the weekend.

A coastguard spokesman said: "We received numerous 999 calls with around 40 alone on Friday night.

"People were reporting seeing something like a plane going down with a tail of smoke behind it.

"It would have been a shooting star from meteor activity."

Five meteors

The spokesman added: "We discussed the situation with RAF Kinloss and other sources and concluded it was meteor activity."

Kappa Cygnid is active between 15-22 August.

Five meteors can be seen in an hour but it can also result in bright yellow-blue fireballs, according to the British Astronomical Association's website.

Were you able to capture the meteor shower on video footage or digital picture? If so, send it to Scotland's news website by emailing newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk

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