| 05.08,18. 06:53 PM |
Meteor streaking across the sky over NSW, Victoria captured by dashcam
Hundreds of people across New South Wales and Victoria have reported seeing a large meteor streak across the sky.
People from the NSW north coast and south to Gippsland in Victoria saw the flash of light move across the sky for several seconds around 6:30pm last night, with some reports that it was red, green and blue in colour.
Amateur astronomer David Finlay said several hundred people across the state reported seeing the meteor, and people had posted dashcam vision to social media.
"It's definitely a meteor. It's not space junk, this isn't a plane falling out of the sky, it's not a UFO," he said.
"Just going by the speed and how this object is behaving, it's a large meteor — a very large meteor."
Mr Finlay said up to 700 people had joined his Facebook page, Australian Meteor Reports, since the sighting.
"I'm very confident that this meteor was large enough to survive to the ground," he said.
"We've got hundreds [of sightings] already.
"People are just going crazy, I can't keep up with it. Reports are coming in by the second."
Sharlone Graham posted to the site: "Not sure what my husband and I just saw near Newcastle NSW at approximately 6:30pm on the New England Highway Hexham, meteor or fireball. Orange with green/blue tail! Never saw anything like it before in my life!!"
"I saw the same thing in Darlinghurst," wrote Noulene Van Heerden.
"It moved at a medium speed and it was burning with a tail behind it.
"I watched until it disappeared. It was almost as if it burnt itself out. So amazing to see!"
Pinpointing a fall location
Mr Finlay has been sent some dashcam footage of the meteor, shot from Sydney, and is calling for more people from further afield with video or photographs to come forward.
"The more data we can get on this thing the more accurate we can determine a fall location," he said.
He currently thinks the meteor may have landed around Cooma near the NSW Snowy Mountains.
"It's faster than what human-made space junk would travel but slow for a meteor, so that in itself gives it a very good chance of not completely vaporising to the ground," he said.
"This thing was bright, what you'd call a 'daymaker', so if you're anywhere near it underneath this thing when it fragments … it will actually light up the entire countryside like it's daylight."
Mr Finlay was hoping people would start to report hearing a sonic boom, which would help to determine where the meteor may have landed.
Meteor 'slower moving than normal'
Astrophysicist Brad E Tucker said judging from the brightness of the meteor, it was most likely a large fragment, between 30 and 70 centimetres in length.
"It does look to be slower moving than a normal meteor," he said.
"The bright blue-green tail people saw indicates iron and the vast majority of meteors are made up of mostly iron."
Mr Tucker, who works at the Mt Stromlo Observatory at the Australian National University, said none of the observatory's sky cameras picked up the meteor, which suggested it did not make it west of Canberra.
He said he did not think the meteor was part of the Perseids meteor showers which are active between mid-July and mid-August, as those showers were mostly seen in the northern hemisphere.
If the Perseids were seen from NSW and Victoria, it would have been observed later in the night or the early morning hours, he said.