A meteor that flashed over the top of the North Island has been captured on dashcam blazing a fiery trail across the night sky.
The stunning three seconds of celestial wonder was filmed as a motorist travelled on Auckland’s Northern Motorway last night.
People from Northland to Auckland reported seeing the brightly lit space object falling at a steep pitch in the night sky around 8.30pm.
Stardome Astronomer Josh Aoraki, who has viewed the footage, confirmed it was a meteor.
“It’s what we call a fireball so it’s a decently sized piece of space debris which is falling to the Earth and it’s big enough to punch through the atmosphere and burn up.
“In this case it made a lot of light.”
A meteor was spotted hurtling over Auckland last night.
Aoraki said there was a chance that the space rock had fallen to earth somewhere in New Zealand but would need a search party to find it.
He said the angle and speed distinguished whether the flying object was a meteor or piece of space debris or a satellite.
“If you get something on a pretty sharp angle coming in so quickly, that’s definitely a piece of space debris because anything at that speed wouldn’t be orbiting the Earth, it would be coming flying through space,” he said.
“Space junk moves a lot slower. This is at such a steep angle it’s definitely a random space rock.”
He says in the absence of getting multiple accounts of the meteor there was no way of telling where it landed, however it likely fell into the sea.
“Most meteors do because we live in a water world.”
Aoraki said meteors like last night’s were not rare.
“I’ve seen many in my lifetime. I’ve seen many over Auckland before.
“Astronomers estimate over 100 tonnes of space debris falls to Earth every day so it’s not a rare occurrence per se, but the rarity is being able to witness it.”
Last November a meteor was spotted from Kaikohe to Auckland, with its calculated trajectory breaking up east of Dargaville.
One witness said they first noticed the meteor when the paddocks in front of them lit up in a pulsing, light green hue.
“Initially I was facing away from the object and I turned around thinking it was a vehicle on the road that was behind me. I saw it falling from the sky in a northerly direction where it changed from green to orange-yellow.”
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