Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Flash, ah-ah

Tonight there was a flash in the sky, seen by people throughout the country. It was apparently a meteor, though at the moment that hasn’t been confirmed, nor has where, if anywhere, it landed.

I didn’t see it. I was doing other things at the time, and certainly not looking out the windows, but I did hear a few booms, similar to thunder, at about the same time people started reporting the flash. Not everyone who reported seeing the flash heard the boom, or vice versa.

The NZ Herald collected some personal reports from people, and Radio New Zealand posted a short video from someone in Christchurch. Stuff eventually posted some reader-reported sightings, after the others.

The earth is hit by thousands of meteors every year, most of which burn up in the atmosphere without anyone even knowing about them. If they make it through to hit the planet, odds are it will crash into the ocean. So, given how big the planet is, and how small the planet is, the odds of one hitting New Zealand are really small. We’ll know soon if this was one of those rare times.

But it did provide a little social media drama this evening.

Update 12 February: The flash has now been confirmed as a meteor that streaked over New Zealand, creating measurable seismic waves. It was travelling about 20 or 30 kilometres a second, before it apparently exploded over the ocean, approximately 150 kilometres east of Auckland, and also between 20 and 30 kilometres above the earth. The more you know

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