Residents across the city of Perth and the state’s south west have been notifying news agencies of a small meteor seen above the city skies. The bright light was seen right across the state, with sightings in Gidgegannup and Margaret River. By the morning, the local ABC radio station was flooded with calls detailing the celestial event.
“I was just going over the Mount Henry Bridge [in Perth]… and there was this silver, sort of shooting thing that came down and just vaporised in a burst over the river,” talkback caller Gillian explained. “A silver thing flashed at an angle – not like it was gravity, but going as though it was propelled into the ground.”
ABC gardening correspondent Sabrina Hahn compared the event to a fireworks display. “It was a really, really intense bright light. It was incredible because it was such an intense light,” she told the ABC.
Curtin University scientist Phil Bland said a meteor would fit the descriptions of the rare event. “What these things typically are is a chunk of rock entering our atmosphere. They come in really fast, so maybe 20 kilometres a second, and then mostly burn up. But this one sounds so big, there’s every chance a chunk of it may have made it to the ground as a meteorite,” he explained to the ABC.
“A meteorite is an extra-terrestrial material on the earth’s surface, so if it lands on earth it’s a meteorite. The thing you see in the sky might be a meteor or a fireball – that’s the light that comes from that.”
And for those thinking there’s a huge payday waiting somewhere for them (meteors and ‘space rocks’ are incredibly valuable items), think again.
Astronomer Richard Tonello told the ABC that the meteor would not likely hit one place on earth. “By the time the meteor came through the atmosphere – depending on its size and composition – more than likely it actually vaporised or fractured into much smaller pieces and [was] scattered over an extremely wide ranging area,” he said. “So don’t bother looking for a crater because it would have pattered down to between 5 and 20 cent pieces, certainly not leaving any smoking craters as Hollywood would have us believe.”
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