Meteor streak seen over Ballarat

David Jeans

The Ballarat Observatory has confirmed the zig-zag cloud stream through the sky on Tuesday evening was a the aftermath of a large meteor.

Reader Adi Ryan posted a picture of the meteor streak on The Courier Facebook page:

"We were outside waiting to have a peak at the ISS (International Space Station) and we looked to the west as my husband had just witnessed a large meteor. This is what it left in its wake!"

Other users chimed in and said that they too had seen the remarkable site.

Ballarat Observatory science and education officer Saeed Salimpour confirmed it was a meteor streak.

"Its an exciting thing. Given that it left a small smoke trail, it was larger than usual, but not humungous. It was probably was a fire ball, which is smaller than a bolide," Mr Salimpour said.

"It would have been broken up in the upper atmosphere.

"If you are out at any given night you will see meteor streaks, there is always debris falling into the earth."

He said it was uncommon for meteor strikes to be viewed at dusk.

"The most favourable time is between midnight and dawn to see meteors, not usually sunset," Mr Salimpour said.

"You can have them from a few micrometres to a few metres wide. There are rarer cases of bits of asteroids which can be hundreds of metres wide."

On May 24 the Earth will pass through a debris trail and there will be a possible increase in meteor activity, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere, according to Mr Salimpour.