Look…up in the sky

Written by admin on 11/07/2018 Categories: 南京夜网

During the weekend several sky gazers reported seeing what they described as a ball of fire shooting across both the day and night sky.

There have been a lot of strange occurrences going on in our skies during the past three or four weeks.

But this latest incident is not to be mistaken for the mysterious range of colourful night lights reported in the Great Lakes Advocate in early May, which has both meteorology and astronomy experts shaking their heads.

This event has a name and a cause, and is a rare astronomical occurrence.

During the weekend several sky gazers reported seeing what they described as a ball of fire shooting across both the day and night sky.

Residents from as far north as Port Macquarie reported seeing the unusual sight on both Saturday night and Sunday.

Just before 6pm on Saturday Nelson Mills posted on the Great Lakes Facebook site that he had witnessed a meteor enter over the Mid North Coast.

“(I) didn’t get any video of it but surely some others have seen it,” he wrote.

Port Macquarie resident Hamish Johnson reported seeing a ‘ball of fire’ in the easterly sky around lunchtime.

He managed to get his camera out in time to take a photo but missed a video opportunity as the bright light descended toward the horizon with a plume of smoke behind it.

Several other sky gazers saw the light and it turns out there is possibly a reasonable, but rare, explanation.

Well-known and respectedMid North Coast astronomer and lecturer, David Reneke,said the possibility of a daylight fireball would have been a spectacle to witness.

He ruled out a SPB (super pressure balloon) which was launched in New Zealand by NAASA two weeks ago, and had given much of Victoria a fright last week.

“It (SPB) displayed as ‘roundish’ and’ whitish’ in colour,” Mr Reneke said.

“But this is moving slowly and would take many minutes to pass over; not quickly and certainly no tail.

“So, that leaves what I thought it was originally – and I wish I’d have seen this one as it was in daylight.

“I’m more than certain it was a rare object called a rogue fireball or basically, a daylight fireball.

“This one came in a little later in the afternoon which is pretty rare, but not unheard of.”

Mr Reneke ruled out space junk. The next piece of space debris re-entry is scheduled to be seen from Australia around 4.30am Monday morning.

Others have suggested it could have simply been a flare.

Fireballs are actually meteors that heat up so much they literally catch fire and burn – they are much rarer than ordinary meteors and usually much bigger.

The earth has about six to seven meteor showers a year, and according to Mr Reneke we have just come through what he described as intense meteor activity.

“This one would have been the size of maybe a soccer ball. The trail it was showing to the witness was actually bits of it burning off,” Mr Reneke explained.

Fireballs seen at night are often reported to “explode” and sometimes with a loud bang.

“I’ve actually witnessed this. This one would have done the same but the flash was lost in the daylight. And yes, a small bit of it probably made landfall.

“I’ve seen two of these at night and they are spectacular. Bright, fast moving with a long smoky-like tail.

“The earth gets hit by a hundred tonnes of meteoric material each day. Most of it burns up and falls as dust but now and then a bigger piece survives and we see it as a bright meteor.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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