A large meteor has been seen
flying through the sky across New Zealand tonight.
The burning ball of space rock was spotted from locations
throughout the country, including the West Coast, Auckland,
Christchurch, Upper Hutt, Palmerston North, Napier and
Many of those who sighted the meteor described it as large
with a colourful tail, streaking across the sky about 6pm.
"[I] saw brilliant blue meteorite with long tail travel east
to west across the northern sky. It seemed like fireworks at
first and appeared close," Richard from north Canterbury
posted on the WeatherWatch meteor watch website.
Another witness, Michelle, said: "Very large, beautiful
meteor sighted over Napier, New Zealand aprox 6pm."
Steven said: "Very bright white light ,showing the signs of a
classic small meteor fly across Christchurch."
Josh posted: "Around 6pm very large green meteor tracking
north to south west, parts breaking off as it went.
Sue said: "I saw a brilliant blue/pink meteor pass swiftly
overhead approx 6.30 this evening heading in a south westerly
direction as I was walking home from the train station in
Wallaceville, Upper Hutt."
Another witness, Ruth, wrote: "Just saw a very bright streak
with green at the front driving out of town Wanaka, toward
Albert Town, streak from the sky, it was going very fast and
as if straight toward earth. Went behind Mt Grand mountain
range and out of sight."
Tim Jessop, an educator at Stardome Observatory, said such
meteors were not uncommon.
"It happens from time-to-time you get a random meteor coming
through, we usually get a couple of calls about them a year,
ones that are different to what people often see. But they're
not unexpected, you can't really predict them, they're
usually tiny things," he said.
"They look big, but they're often not very large at all. It
almost certainly wouldn't have made it to the ground, it
would have burnt up high in the atmosphere."
It had been a bit too cloudy over the observatory, located in
Auckland's Royal Oak, too see it tonight, he said.
A meteor was typically "some random rock or ice from space
falling through the [Earth's] atmosphere", Mr Jessop said.
There was no need to be concerned, he said, there was "no
- Patrice Dougan