News

Ball of light flashes through sky in central Queensland

REPORTS of a large meteorite or other object lighting up the sky in central Queensland and hitting the earth are starting to flood Facebook.

There are reports of the meteorite and a bright flash being seen in Gladstone, Rockhampton, Emerald, Barcaldine and Moranbah.

Cameron Hewitt said in a post he was on his way home from Charters Towers, just north of the Cape River near Belyando Crossing when it hit.

"It looked like it was very close to me, within 15-30km. Be very interesting to know where it exactly hit.

"I was on the phone to a friend in Charters Towers when I saw the giant fireball with a trail (meteorite) come through the clouds and hit the ground, then as it hit the ground there was a massive flash like lightning.

"It was at the exact same time my friend on the phone said he saw what appeared to be a giant lightning flash, yet we were over 100km from each other."

Rebecca Arnaboldi said houses shook in Jericho and on properties further west, while Damian Lette said he saw it over Alpha.

Awhina J Williams said: "Saw flashes in Calliope, Blackwater has had quite a few reports, cousin in Springsure saw it, and a friend's mum in Blackall saw it. Amazing."

Other posters reported seeing the meteorite in Calliope and Gladstone.

Jacqueline Macdonald-Camden saw it on the way from Emerald to Blackwater.

"It was enormous, long tail and very bright. Looks like it exploded. People in Jericho are saying their houses shook."

There have been reports the ball of light crashed to the earth in Townsville.

Police said officers in Townsville had received just one report about the incident, and had made inquiries to ensure it wasn't an aviation accident.

Astronomer Owen Bennedick, from Wappa Falls Observatory in Yandina on the Sunshine Coast, suggested the object was not a meteor but more likely part of a satellite re-entering the Earth's atmosphere.

"Each different metal or each different plastic that a satellite's made of will burn at a different temperature and have a different colour spectrum," he told the ABC.

Mr Bennedick said the spectacle of an impact could be an optical illusion.

"Only the heavier objects make it to ground - the rest of it burns up in the atmosphere," he said.

"My experience is that most people think it's landed just over the next door hill, but the pieces have actually landed hundreds of kilometres away."

Topics:  editors picks meteorite



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