Australia: Driver spots meteor soaring through Sydney sky
Video has emerged of a sizeable fireball hurtling across the horizon during the weekend. Dramatic footage shared online clearly depict the space rock glowing bright against the inky black night sky.
During this period, the meteor is incinerating as it encounters Earth’s thick atmosphere approximately 50 miles (80km) up.
Sitting on our deck at Kensington and the biggest meteor just flew over us with a flaming tail of debris!
Eyewitness Dallas Kilponen
Sydney residents flocked to Twitter to share their excitement at spotting the meteor.
Ron Sweeney tweeted: “Did anyone see a meteor/comet/piece of junk flash east to west across the Sydney sky tonight?
“Very visible and appeared to be low in the sky with no sound.”
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Dallas Kilponen added: “Holy s**t. Sitting on our deck at Kensington and the biggest meteor just flew over us with a flaming tail of debris!
“Literally waited for a flash and explosion … nothing! WTF!
“Most insane thing I’ve ever seen. No shooting star. Full meteorite with debris tail. Insane!”
The extreme reactions on Twitter reflect the fact this was the first meteor sighting since last July.
However, Dr Brad Tucker, an Australian National University astrophysicist, has revealed such fireballs are actually not as rare as they are thought.
He said: “You get something like this — because this was something like half a metre, to a metre in size — every three-to-six months.
“But it happened at around 9.30pm, when everyone’s out and about on a Saturday night, instead of at 1am, when everyone’s asleep.”
But although this particular meteor is technically not that rare, the fireball is freakish in another way.
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Dr Tucker added what is interesting is how the meteor’s entrance was not accompanied by a sonic boom.
He said: “Normally, if you get a meteor that’s coming and it starts to break up near the surface and fragment, people hear a sonic boom.
“So the fact that we didn’t hear that, but people did clearly see the fragmentation, probably means that it broke up higher in the sky — about 80 or so kilometres high.”
Dr Tucker added, despite indications suggesting the meteor may have landed anywhere, video footage such as this dashcam clip can help pinpoint its location.
Videos added to social media site suggest the meteor’s cosmic journey most likely ended with a splashdown in the ocean.
Dr Tucker revealed this does not mean reported space rock sightings do not have their scientific uses.
He said: “There’s a lot of work that we’re trying to do now, which is why it’s quite helpful to have reports.
“Because if you can recover the meteorite, a) it’s interesting; it’s cool.
“But also, if you actually have enough video, you can not only figure out where it landed, but also where it came from. But I don’t think we’ll recover this one.”
“There are projects like Fireballs in the Sky, and they even have an app, where you can upload your videos.
“And essentially, it uses all of those reports to try and triangulate the meteorite.”
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