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Bright green fireball streaks across the New Zealand night sky

Bright green fireball streaks across the New Zealand night sky

The Watchers

A bright green fireball streaked across the night sky over North Island, New Zealand on May 18, 2017. The event took place around 07:15 UTC (19:15 NZST) and lasted up to 7 seconds.

According to witness reports, the event lasted a few seconds before it disintegrated and ‘fizzled out leaving what looked like a star in the sky.’ “Saw it loud and clear near Matata, a giant ball of fire with a green tinge as I was driving to Whakatane,” Lee Barton told WeatherWatch.

Another eyewitness said she saw a bright green and white-gold streak of lights racing across the sky in a north-northwest direction. Jessica Te Kahu from Gisborne said the fireball was in her eyesight for like 7 seconds. Other reports mention glowing red at the end of a long colored trail traveling really low and almost horizontally across the sky. Some said it was a green and orange light traveling fairly slowly and low in the night sky.

“This is probably just a random piece of rock from space entering the Earth’s atmosphere and the folks watching the rugby game were lucky to be in the right place at the right time,” astronomer and Otago Museum director Ian Griffin said. “Although witnesses said the light was low in the sky, it was likely that was due to the “line of sight” effect. The meteor would probably have been between 50 km [31 miles] and 150 km [93 miles] high in the atmosphere.”

“Given that the brightness of meteors is related to size, it would probably have been about the size of a cricket ball,” Griffin concluded.

Tuki Sweeney, who recorded the event, said the meteor brightened up the whole rugby pitch he was recording. “There were about three rugby fields and it brightened up the whole area,” he said.

Video courtesy Tuki Sweeney

Featured image: Bright green fireball over New Zealand. Credit: Tuki Sweeney.

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