A bright, ''sparkly'' silver object seen falling from the
western sky on Sunday afternoon was probably a rarely seen
The Otago Daily Times has had reports of about a dozen
people in at least six locations seeing the object between
2.45pm and 3pm on Sunday.
Mark Davis, of Wanaka, saw an ''extremely bright'' silver
light dropping to the earth as he was driving from Omarama
towards the Lindis Pass at 2.45pm on Sunday.
He glimpsed it only briefly and described it as ''sparkly''.
Three people, including Wanaka farmer John Leith and Chris
Scott, of Christchurch, saw it from West Wanaka.
Mr Leith said it was a ''silver flash'' coming out of the
''It looked almost like three rockets joined together with
their tails pointing towards the earth.''
It was travelling so fast he did not even have time to say to
others in the group: ''Hey, have a look at this.''
And Ms Scott said it was just like a shooting star.
''It was very silvery; like a sparkler glittering.''
Sean O'Connell, of Wanaka, and his golfing partner saw the
object passing over Mt Roy where ''it seemed to splutter
''Definitely bright; had a sparkly, fiery trail, and some
Mr O'Connell said the object, which he assumed was a meteor,
seemed to ''fizz'' and was similar to a flare but higher and
Dunedin tramper Doug Miller was heading due west on the
Packhorse Trail between Lowburn and the Pisa Range when he
saw a ''fireball'' falling west before it disappeared behind
the mountain range.
''It was pretty impressive. It seemed to be quite wide and
quite close,'' he said.
The University of Canterbury's Mt John Observatory
superintendent Alan Gilmore said from the descriptions the
object was likely to have been a ''daylight meteor''.
''They are pretty rare because they have got to be
exceedingly bright to be seen.''
Mr Gilmore could recall just two previous occasions when
daylight meteors were reported in New Zealand - one in Hawkes
Bay in 1971.
The brief and ''sparkly'' appearance of the object supported
the idea it was a meteor.
''They are very fast and so generally you don't see them for
much longer than a second, unless they are on a very low
Meteors were falling all the time, but to have been visible,
the one on Sunday would have been bigger than usual.
He said at a ''wild guess'' it could have been as big as a
baseball to begin with but would have burnt out before
hitting the ground.
''If the same thing had happened at night time it would have
been quite spectacular. It would have lit up the whole
The meteor was also seen in Queenstown.
Susi Thompson, of Dalefield, described it as ''a cluster of
sparkling silver lights, similar to a fireworks, dropping
from the cloudless blue sky''.
''As they disappeared they exploded outwards - even more like
Ms Thompson said a trail of smoke or vapour remained visible
for about a minute and there was also a ''single booming
sound like a thunderclap''.
Grant McLennan, of Queenstown, while boating on Lake Wakatipu
just off Cecil Peak Station, saw a ''large fiery ball in the
western sky'' with a smoky tail.
''For some time, we were concerned it was a plane going down
and checked the internet to make sure nothing had happened.''
And James Bonnar, in Cromwell, saw the meteor with a long
yellow and red tail while sitting outside his home.
''It shot over the sky at such speed that my wife, who was
sitting beside me, never noticed it.''