This UFO sighting has been cleared up conclusively by Dr. T.S. Kelso. From sightings by expert members of Astronomy Ireland, we had always favored space debris explanation. The BBC's Leo Enright favored a sighting of the hush hush space plane Aurora and published same in Irish Times (Tue April 6, page 12). Now his theory is completely disproven (apology to U.S. DoD in order?)
Basically, John Fitzsimons saw two mag -1 lights travelling parallel to one another from NW to SE being 70deg up in SW at highest at 0:10UT on March 31. The public were alarmed and reports of UFOs were in all the papers, TV, radio next day. Dept. of Transport set up inquiry. Astronomy Ireland has passed on Dr. Kelso's solution:-
"Sorry for the delay, but I finally got everything that I needed to do my analysis for you this afternoon. Here's what I discovered.
I began by taking the catalog of objects on orbit (as maintained by NORAD and limited to unclassified objects only) and taking only those objects with an element set after the last ten days prior to the decay. Element sets earlier than this would have been of questionable accuracy for a decaying object. That gave me 6,529 objects. I then eliminated any object with an element set after the decay (since no observations would have been gathered to generate a new element set); that reduced the number to 2,868 objects. Of these, only 438 were above your observer's horizon at 0010 UTC on 93 Mar 31. Of these, only one was below 250 km at this time; it was Catalog Number 22586, International Designator 1993-018B, which decayed on March 31. This object appears to have been a rocket body of Cosmos 2238.
Based on the latest element set for this object, it would have passed through perigee at an altitude of 107 km at 2351 UTC on 93 Mar 30 and would not have been likely to escape reentry. Closest approach to your observer was predicted to have occurred at 0009 UTC on 93 Mar 31 at an azimuth of 196 degrees and at an elevation of 63 degrees when it was at 53.6 N, 8.7 W. The pass began at 0006 UTC at an azimuth of 313 degrees and ended at 0012 UTC at an azimuth of 140 degrees.
These predictions seem to match quite well with your observer's report (he should be commended for the accuracy of his observations!). And the reentry of a rocket body could be expected to cause a pretty spectacular fireworks display, quite possibly resulting in multiple large pieces as you described.
Please feel free to disseminate this information to whomever might be interested (and certainly on Internet) and let me know if you have any additional questions. - TS"
So the object was a fragment of the rocket that launched Cosmos 2238 a Russian military surveillance satellite (another post described Cosmos 2238 previously).
After Ireland, sightings of this object are few. There were some from UK (west) but did it make it to France or further?
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