Unusual sight captured on camera

04:44, Jun 20 2012
meteorite
RARE SIGHT: Oamaru man Gary Brooker, near Moeraki at the time, captured this image of a bright object in the sky on June 3.

A bright blaze shooting across the night sky near Moeraki is believed to have been a plane's vapour trail.

Oamaru man Gary Brooker took photos of the unusual sight, which he spotted while driving north along State Highway 1, near Moeraki.

Mt John Observatory superintendent Alan Gilmore analysed the pictures, which he believes show a plane's vapour trail.

Mr Brooker took the photos at about 6pm on June 3. The images show two bright streaks in the sky, with a shiny object at one end.

"I was coming home along the main road and I spotted it going down so I stopped and took a photo."

I didn't think it was a plane because the vapour trail would have been white, but this was burning," he said.

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There was an obvious object leading the trail, which he believed was a piece of "junk".

However, Mr Gilmore said the image was in fact, of a plane and its vapour trail.

"The photos are nothing to do with asteroids, or anything above aircraft altitude. They are all pictures of aeroplane vapour trails."

He said the trails had a golden tint to them because the sun was low.

Mr Brooker said he had no clue how fast the object was going. ''I was doing 100km on the main highway, but I had enough time to put my foot on the brake, stop and take a photo and then it was gone.

''Somebody said it could have been out near Australia. It could have been miles and miles away, but it was so bright.''

It was the first time Mr Brooker had witnessed such an event. He has since shared his discovery with other people, including a friend who has researched the sighting online.

And it turns out Mr Brooker was not the only one who witnessed the event over New Zealand. Another sighting, believed to be the same object, was recorded on the internet, along with another photo, Mr Brooker said.

The Timaru Herald