A Sydney Observatory astronomer says a strange sight seen by many St George and Sutherland Shire residents in the sky on Saturday was most likely a meteorite.
The Leader reported there were numerous reports of strange activity in the sky just before 5.30pm on Saturday, with some people taking to Facebook to report the strange phenomena.
There were a number of posts on the Australian Meteor Reports Facebook page. One person wrote: "I just joined this group because this evening I saw something like I've never seen before. Looking out over the ocean at Newcastle ocean baths at around 5.30pm today I saw a largish bright light moving quite quickly down towards the water".
This prompted responses from people from Sydney, the Hunter Valley, the South Coast, the Blue Mountains and even Broke. While some thought it was a meteor, others suggested it was a satellite.
Another person wrote: "Just saw a meteor at 5.25pm. It was very bright considering there was still light in the sky. Did anyone else see it?"
Residents from Caringbah, Engadine and Cronulla were among those to respond with their own sightings.
There was also a big response to our article on the Leader Facebook page.
Grant Carter said he saw something in the sky above Kingsgrove while Luigi Caforio wrote: "I saw it from my backyard in Carlton. Very bright light going through the sky west to east, which suddenly broke up and disappeared. Very fascinating".
Edwina Hickey wrote: "Yes we saw it ... amazing. Thought I was going crazy".
Paul Brian Jones wrote: "Saw it whilst in the surf. A green light streaked across the sky from the west, then turned into a flash, then disappeared".
Jade Scowen said: "I saw it too!!! I didn't think it looked like a normal shooting star as it had that blue/green glow!".
Scott Swinson wrote: "I saw this from our deck in Engadine. It was going very fast but was pretty low. It turned green then seemed to catch fire then disappeared! I've never seen anything like it!"
Sydney Observatory astronomer Dr Sarah Reeves said based on the reports she had read it was most likely a meteorite falling to Earth.
She said this was based on the speed at which it descended - four to five seconds according to reports - whereas a satellite would have taken longer.
Dr Reeves said meteorites were small pieces of rock that produced "a lot of light and heat" when entering the atmosphere.
She said the different colours that people reported seeing, including pink, red and vibrant green, reflected the different elements in the rock itself, with the green meaning it contained iron or magnesium.
She said the sightings - from Newcastle to the South Coast - were all similar and reported around the same time. Unusually, it was still light.
"To see something this bright is quite unusual," Dr Reeves said, adding anyone who saw it should count themselves lucky.
"I have never seen anything like that myself," she said. "You just have to be in the right place and be looking at the sky at the right moment."
While she said there were organisations around the world that specialised in tracking large objects, this was likely only a few centimetres in size.
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