There have been more than 200 reports of a mysterious “fireball” crossing the night sky over Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The UK Meteor Network said it began receiving reports of a fireball spotted about 9pm on Thursday.

The network said it was “investigating to ascertain what the object was, meteor or space debris”, adding that most reports had come from Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Danny Nell, 21, was walking his dog in Johnstone, just west of Paisley and Glasgow, when he saw the fireball.

“I was walking my dog and it was strangely enough 10pm on the dot and I just saw the flash in the sky and pulled out my phone and recorded it,” the Glasgow resident told the PA news agency.

“I thought it may be a firework at first because there was a lot of Scottish football on but quickly realised it wasn’t and just grabbed my phone to see if I could catch it.”

Dr Annie O'Brian, of Glasgow University and the UK Fireball Alliance, said that meteors were bits of dust and rock from space which were burning up as they entered the Earth's atmosphere.

She said: "If they make it all the way to the ground, we call them a meteorite. At this point, we don't know if what we saw last night was a meteor. It probably was.

"The other option is that it could have been a bit of space junk; that's a pice of satellite or space junk that's fallen back down to earth.

"From the footage, it doesn't look like that but we'll know in the next few hours. So maybe it's a meteor. And given how long it went on for - maybe we have the first Scottish meteorite in over 100 years."

Efforts will now be made to trace the path of the falling object across the night sky, to work out if it came to land. 

Footage taken from observers and members of the public will be used to triangulate its trajectory over the night sky to work out where it may have fallen to earth. 

The Fireball Alliance has appealed to members of the public who saw the shooting star to get in touch to help them work out its path.  

Dr O'Brian added: "It's really cool. It's just a wonderful, beautiful thing. We get shooting stars all the time. This just happened to happen when it wasn't cloudy last night and it happened at 10pm when people are often out and about but it is dark enough (to see them)."