Wednesday 6 April 2016

Bright 'fireball' meteor seen over much of New Zealand.

Witnesses have reported seeing a bright fireball type meteor over much of New Zealand at about 9.00 pm local time on Tuesday 5 April 2016. The meteor has been reported by people across North Island, as well as on northern South Island in the area around Nelson. The fireball has been described as being initially orange, then turning bright green, which may give some idea as to its composition; orange can be indicative of a variety of materials, including carbonates, while green is often indicative of iron - a change in colour may indicate that the oter layer of the meteorite was made up of a different material to the inner (though we are unlikely to find any remains of the meteorite, so this is pure speculation). A fireball is defined as a meteor (shooting star) brighter than the planet Venus. These are typically caused by pieces of rock burning up in the atmosphere, but can be the result of man-made space-junk burning up on re-entry.

 The 5 April 2016 New Zealand Meteorite seen from Waikanae. Jono Matla/Facebook.

Objects of this size probably enter the Earth's atmosphere several times a year, though unless they do so over populated areas they are unlikely to be noticed. They are officially described as fireballs if they produce a light brighter than the planet Venus. It is possible that this object will have produced meteorites that reached the surface (an object visible in the sky is a meteor, a rock that falls from the sky and can be physically held and examined is a meteorite).

See also... 'fireball' meteor seen over much of England.                                                       The UK Meteor Observation Network has recieved roports of a bright fireball meteor being seen over much of southern England slightly after 3.15 am GMT... seen over southern France and northern Italy.                                                  A bright fireball was seen over much of southeast France and northern Italy at about 6.20 pm local time on Wednesday 17... unlikely to have killed man in Tamil Nadu.                                                         Indian newspaper The Hindu carried a report on Sunday 7 February 2016 in which the death of a man and injury of three other people as well as causing damage to several nearby buildings at the campus of a college in Vellore, Tamil Nadu, were described as...

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