Australia meteor: ‘Fireball’ lights up Melbourne skies.
A meteor lit up skies across Victoria last night, with the “pea-sized” rock possibly crash landing in waters off South Australia.
The lightshow stunned onlookers around Australia, with captivated onlookers describing the meteor as “brighter than Jupiter”.
The flaming rock would have been travelling at extraordindary speeds of 11kms per second and coming from at least 80kms high.
Videos and eyewitness accounts pinpoint the meteor shower over Melbourne to have taken place around 11.15pm.
There were sightings across the city, in Geelong, around the Mornington Peninsula and rural areas like Heywood, and Edenhope, close to the South Australian border.
Vision and reports also emerged from across the border, including over buildings in Adelaide’s CBD.
While difficult to pinpoint the exact location, astronomer David Finlay estimates the asteroid could have landed in the ocean.
“We’ve got a reasonably good indication that this could be what we call a ‘fish squisher’ … going by eyewitness reports from South Australia would probably place this one in the ocean south of Adelaide,” he told the Herald Sun
“Essentially what we’re looking at is small asteroid.”
Monash University astronomer Michael Brown said the rocks are usually not much bigger than a pea, but can range up to the size of a basketball.
While onlookers might have seemed like they were close to the action, Dr Brown says the asteroid was likely hundreds of kms away.
“Certainly when these meteors do happen, because they are burning so quickly, they are often visible across a good chunk of the state,” Dr Brown told the Herald Sun.
“They’re travelling through the upper atmosphere so fast and are not much bigger than a pea.
”But these events are usually completely by chance and we don’t know about them until they arrive.
One reader told the Herald Sun meteor provided a “spectacular” view in Brighton.
“I saw this large round fireball with a long tail fall from the sky like it was diving into the bay,” Gill Strauch said.
“I was standing on my balcony. As it hit on the horizon, it exploded silently right in front of me.”