Fireball seen over North Island, New Zealand

From: Mark Robinson (
Date: Fri Aug 28 2009 - 02:50:19 UTC

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    > 'Fiery' meteor sighted
    > By SHAHRA WALSH - The Press
    > Last updated 11:18 28/08/2009 [20090827 2318UT]
    > A fiery meteor blazed a trail through the skies this morning, with sightings reported from Christchurch to Rotorua.
    > Zoe Battersby was out for an early walk along Jimmy Amers beach in Kaikoura at around 6.10am when she noticed a "very large meteor".
    > "It was very bright - the size of a streetlight. It looked like it fell into the sea," she said.
    > Alan Gilmore, resident superintendent of the University of Canterbury Mt John Observatory said meteors enter the atmosphere over New Zealand "several times a year" but he doubted that the rock made it to the ground or water level.
    > “This meteor is very typical, and often they burn up at about 70kms up. It’s very rare for them to actually land. They are coming into a thicker atmosphere, travelling at 30km a second. The friction is strong and they slow up and start to break up. It’s like throwing a stone at a concrete path,” he said.
    > Gilmore said as the meteor breaks up, witnesses often see a bright flash known as a 'terminal fireball'.
    > He said meteors "burning up coming through air - white hot with friction - start to glow". Meteors could be seen from as far as 100kms up and could be seen from almost 1000kms away.
    > "They are spectacular, often a bright white centre which is the actual rock, - a tiny, brilliant star - with a teardrop-shaped glow that’s brilliant emerald green caused by the oxygen and the radiation coming off the rock," he said.
    > Gilmore said on the rare occasion that a meteor lands - then becoming known as a meteorite - its arrival is often heralded with a sonic boom caused by the temperature layers that exist closer to the surface, below 60kms.
    > Because of the range of reported sightings, Gilmore expected the meteor entered the atmosphere somewhere over the North Island.
    > "The impression of closeness is deceptive. Because they are bright, people think [the meteorite] landed a couple of paddocks away."
    and following reader comments.
    There seem to be a few candidate satellites.
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