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Meteor suspected as 'fireball' filmed in Australian night sky, with sightings in two states

By Camron Slessor, Wednesday May 22, 2019 - 12:08 EST

A "fireball" believed to have been a meteor has lit up the skies in at least two states overnight, with sightings of the phenomenon coming in from across South Australia and Victoria.

Footage of a "bright white light" crashing to the ground was captured on dashcam by Dylan Bishop south of Adelaide just after 10:30pm last night.

One Facebook user described it as "a huge bright white light", while another said it "scared the stuffing" out of her.

"The whole night sky glowed a brilliant orange with what looked like a comet with flames shooting from Earth to the atmosphere," Katie Wahlheim said.

CCTV footage from near Safety Beach on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula showed a huge ball of light falling from the sky and illuminating Port Phillip Bay.

Earlier this week , more than 500 kilometres north of Alice Springs.

Meteor has 'vaporised' over South Australia


Astronomer David Finlay, who administrates the Australia Meteor Report Facebook page, said he believed people had seen a small meteor.

"It's pretty obvious that it's a meteor. It's small asteroid that's created this and has started to vaporise over the skies of South Australia," he said.

"From every indication so far, the bits of dashcam footage coming, and importantly, the reports of a sonic boom, all those are evidence that lead us to believe that this may have survived to the ground. It just depends where it's landed.

"It's splitting up into different pieces … it gets a lot brighter and that's what people are seeing.

"We've actually got anecdotal evidence that for the last couple of years the earth has been bombarded by probably twice as many of these small asteroids than what we usually get."

Flinders University space archaeologist Dr Alice Gorman said after seeing the footage she also believed it was a meteor.

She said this occasion was one of the lucky times that a large meteor had entered the atmosphere during the night.

"One of the interesting things about meteors is most of them enter the atmosphere during the day so people don't see them," Dr Gorman said.

"[But] several times a year there will be an event that is seen by a lot of people that is quite visible and quite spectacular."

'The whole valley lit up'

Andrew, a truckie who said he was travelling to Horsham last night when he saw the phenomenon, described it as a large "dome of light".

"I've seen a very bright dome of light followed by a very large second dome of light and my first thought was 'wow, what was that'," he told ABC Radio Adelaide.

"Before I knew it there were reports all over the place of a meteorite."

McLaren Vale resident Phil said he was in bed when he saw the three-to-four second phenomenon about 10:40pm.

"All of a sudden, the whole valley lit up," he said.

"There was a green tinge to it at the start, and I saw the whole ball pass across the sky heading south.

"As it disappeared towards Willunga it actually increased in size. It seemed to be breaking up and got larger as it disappeared over the hills."

The sighting comes as another in March this year.

The fireball was spotted in northern skies moving from west to east at about the same time of night, at 10:30pm.


© ABC 2019

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