'Glowing ball' seen in NZ skies

An object, thought to be a meteor, shoots across the sky above Wellington.
An object, thought to be a meteor, shoots across the sky above Wellington.
An object, thought to be a meteor, shoots across the sky above Wellington.
An object, thought to be a meteor, shoots across the sky above Wellington.
The trail left by the meteor in the sky above Wellington.
The trail left by the meteor in the sky above Wellington.
The trail left by the meteor in the sky above Wellington.
The trail left by the meteor in the sky above Wellington.

Thousands watched in awe last night as a fiery streak, thought to be a meteor, darted across the sky leaving a trail of smoke and mystery in its wake.


Did you see the meteor? Email us on newstips@stuff.co.nz.

TRAIL IN THE SKY: The path of a meteorite, seen over Wellington.
TRAIL IN THE SKY: The path of a meteorite, seen over Wellington.

Thousands watched in awe last night as a fiery streak darted across the sky leaving a trail of smoke and mystery in its wake.

Police were bombarded with calls the length of the country as spectators wondered whether the bright, fast moving light was a plane, space junk, a meteorite or something extra terrestrial.

'GLOWING BALL': An object, thought to be a meteorite, shoots across the sky above Wellington.
'GLOWING BALL': An object, thought to be a meteorite, shoots across the sky above Wellington.

The bright and colourful light was spotted in the lower North Island and the South Island, including Wellington, Blenheim and Christchurch, about 6.30pm.

Earth and Sky senior observer Matt Hall from Lake Tekapo said it was most probably a meteor.

"As it enters the Earth's atmosphere, it burns up into smaller pieces. They saw quite a bright light shooting from northeast to east with what looked like bright sparks coming off the back of it."

Meteors often looked as if they were overhead when in fact they were a long way away, he said.

Wellingtonians described it as a shooting star that burned yellow and green and made a sizzling sound.

Others said it moved in a zigzag pattern rather than a straight line and "popped twice and disappeared".

"Four of us were sitting around a table at 6.30 in Levin, when an object appeared on fire traversing from north to south at reasonable speed with bursts of flames and explosions leaving a white trail and two exit clouds."

Another Wellington resident said it looked like a "crashing satellite". It "exploded in the sky with a green flash".

Some described it as a glowing ball. "It left a distinctive vapour trail and it wasn't in a straight line line, it was curved and irregular.

"It then exploded and the vapour trail ended. I could still see the glowing ball and after a second it exploded again and I could see the vapour trail again."

Christchurch man Theo Newfield said he saw "space junk" falling over the city.

"I was outside having my cup of coffee and I saw a smoke trail and a burning object pass right over the top of the city.

"It was burning and something would burst into flame...there were explosions in it. It lasted about three or four seconds."

WeatherWatch.co.nz tweeted that a "spectacular fireball", thought to be a meteor, was seen over Wellington and Christchurch.

Fairfax Media