A meteor that burned up over Victoria last night prompted a number of calls to police from concerned residents who believed the bright light streaking across the sky may have been a plane on fire.
Witnesses said the incredibly bright light flared about 10.45pm and remained visible in the night sky for up to 40 seconds.
Airservices Australia said it also received a couple of calls to its hotline from locals fearing a plane was in peril.
The sighting came just hours after a separate large meteor shower in Britain was seen by residents from northern Scotland to southern England, prompting a flood of calls to police.
Astronomer Perry Vlahos said the bright light over Victoria last night, which was seen across the state and possibly in Tasmania, was caused by a single meteorite burning up about 80 or 90 kilometres up into the atmosphere.
“It appears to have been a meteor that came into the earth’s atmosphere about the size of a large marble, so not very big at all,” Mr Vlahos said.
“It burned up very brightly and a lot of people could actually see it over a large expanse of area.”
He said last night’s display was not an unusual phenomenon.
“But it’s unusual that people were outside, because it was a balmy evening before people had gone to bed,” Mr Vlahos said.
“If you stay outside for the course of a whole evening you’re likely to see a number of meteors, although perhaps not as bright as that.”
Matt, who was fishing at Lagoon Pier in Port Melbourne when the meteor burned up, said he believed it was a Royal Australian Air Force plane that was streaking across the sky.
“We actually thought it was one of those F-111 air force planes,” he told radio station 3AW.
“It was just a bright light with this tail. I said to one of the other guys, I said, ‘Did you see that?
“We just assumed that it was one of those really fast planes.
“[It didn’t last] that long, probably 30 seconds or 40 seconds, but there was cloud cover as well, it was sort of going in and out of the clouds. It was quite bizarre, amazing.”
A Victoria Police spokeswoman said police received a number of calls about 10.45pm from people reporting a mysterious light in the sky, however it was quickly confirmed that a plane had not crashed.
An Airservices Australia spokesman said a couple of calls were logged with its Noise Complaints and Information Service hotline.
“Obviously we take all of those reports seriously and, with the local authorities, determined that it wasn’t [a plane crash] and no-one was missing from our radar screens,” the spokesman said.
亮点一般都在最后——网友评论说：“这是吉拉德被陆克文一脚从堪培拉踢出来。”（This is Ms. Gillard kicked off from ACT office by Kevin Rudd.）