Melbourne Meteor: Incredible moment a bright fireball streaks across the city’s night sky as experts say it could be space junk
- Melbourne residents witness a light display
- Also seen at Mount Buller, Ballarat and Bendigo
- Many experts believed it was space junk
Hundreds of stunned Australians have captured the incredible moment when a brilliant fireball lit up the night sky.
A mysterious light was seen flickering in the Melbourne sky shortly after midnight on Tuesday.
The light display was seen as far as Mount Buller, Ballarat, Bendigo and even across the border in Adelaide.
Speculation ran wild as to whether it was a meteor shower or ‘space junk’.
Dozens of Melbourne residents also said they felt the ground shake and feared another quake would hit them.
Others ran out with their phones to capture the bright object lighting up the dark skies.
A brilliant fireball lit up the Melbourne night sky early Tuesday morning (pictured), causing social media to crash.
Ricardo spent two minutes filming the spectacular light show from Cowes Jetty on Phillip Island, 143km from Melbourne.
‘I was a bit scared for a bit there! The seagulls also went crazy! A series of very loud sonic booms a couple of minutes later! he captioned the footage.
A Melbourne woman added: ‘Just witnessed a meteor shower over Melbourne! Incredible scenes.
Another TikTok user shared a view of the fireball from Melbourne’s CBD.
The extraordinary moment divided the internet as to what had just transpired.
“Pretty sure we just had another aftershock in Melbourne #earthquake,” Steve Forbes wrote.
“There was a 100 per cent earthquake in Melbourne about 3 minutes ago,” another person said.
Others claimed they saw a “possible” meteor.
A man filmed the incredible light display from Cowes Jetty on Phillip Island
‘Did someone in Victoria/Melbourne just see some kind of shooting star/comet/space junk over the south!?’ Shannon asked.
Another stargazer added: ‘Eyewitness reports now on the radio saying there was a loud explosion in the sky over Melbourne just after midnight. Possible meteorite or space junk.
RMIT University science expert Dr Gail Isles said it may have been a meteor with the upcoming Perseid meteor shower currently active and expected to reach its expected peak this weekend.
She believed it was most likely a rocket part from a navigation satellite launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia.
“It came back somewhere between the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere and then it started looking quite large to our eyes from Melbourne,” Dr Isles told 3AW presenter Neil Mitchell.
“We’ve seen it as a big burning ball of fire.”
The brilliant fireball was seen as far as Bendigo, Ballarat and even Adelaide.
Swinburne University astronomer Professor Alan Duffy agreed that burning space junk was most likely.
“What we’re seeing is a huge flash of light spreading and burning, you can see from the videos that it’s really extraordinary,” Professor Duffy told 3AW.
“You can see that it’s breaking up, all of that tells me it’s space junk, it’s not a small piece of natural rock in space.
“The fact that you can see something that bright for so long, that it’s breaking off and even the pieces that are breaking off are burning brightly, all of that means it’s something very big, probably a couple of tons.”
professor duffy he praised the display as the “greatest light show” he had ever seen.
“What we’re seeing is a big flash of light that spreads out and burns for 30 or 40 seconds,” he said.
Just after midnight, residents took to Twitter to say they had felt the Earth move, while others posted images of something glowing in the night sky.
Explained: The difference between an asteroid, a meteorite and other space rocks
A asteroid it is a large chunk of rock left over from collisions or from the early solar system. Most lie between Mars and Jupiter in the Main Belt.
TO kite it is a rock covered in ice, methane and other compounds. Their orbits take them much further out of the solar system.
TO meteorite it’s what astronomers call a flash of light in the atmosphere when debris burns up.
This debris itself is known as meteoroid. Most are so small that they evaporate into the atmosphere.
If any of these meteoroids reach Earth, it is called meteorite.
Meteors, meteoroids, and meteorites typically originate from asteroids and comets.
For example, if Earth passes through the tail of a comet, much of the debris burns up in the atmosphere and forms a meteor shower.