'Fireball' Lights Up NZ's Skies

Publish Date
Wednesday, 6 April 2016, 7:20AM
Image: file/iStock

Image: file/iStock

A meteor reportedly lit up New Zealand's skies last night.

WeatherWatch forecaster Philip Duncan said his website, WeatherWatch.co.nz, received a number of meteor reports through the day from around the globe. But after 9pm there had been "dozens" of reports from around the country.

Eyewitnesses described the meteor as being all sorts of colours, Mr Duncan said.

One person posted that they had seen a "very bright shooting star" about 9pm in Hastings.

"It looked like a fireball that got bigger as it was falling and then just burned out."

A person in Mt Roskill described seeing what they initially thought was fireworks.

"But this thing was no fireworks, the green light was the size of a basketball, heading horizontally on a downward slope across the sky."

Others reported seeing the light over the King Country, Manawatu, Taranaki, the top of the South Island and Canterbury.

According to Nasa, small chunks of rock and debris in space are called meteoroids. They become meteors, or shooting stars, when they fall through a planet's atmosphere, leaving a bright trail as they are heated into incandescence by the friction of the atmosphere.

Pieces that survive the journey and hit the ground are called meteorites.

- NZ Herald