Wednesday, May 17, 2006




From : An unidentified green object streaked across the Queensland sky last night, before landing on a property between Toowoomba and Warwick near the Great Dividing Range. Farmer Don Vernon lives on the property next to where the object hit the ground, and watched it come in to land.

"I was finished on the farm and driving home, and as I came in the gate I faced this enormous green ball of light with a white centre.

"It disappeared behind a ridge and I immediately drove out over the ridge without stopping so I was there in a few minutes.

"When I turned the lights off the car I saw a glowing green ball up on the ridge three-quarters of a mile away and a smaller piece was rolling down the side of the ridge. They were both glowing green."

"It was a brilliant light before it landed. A bit like a green sun. I rang a neighbour and asked if he had found superman."

Astronomers are uncertain whether the object was a piece of space junk or a meteorite, however Jim Barclay from the Maidenwell Observatory suspects it was part of a satellite or some rocket casing.

The object, which looked like a comet, was spotted by hundreds of people and airport control towers across south-east Queensland at around 6:30pm last night.

A few different views on what actually flew through, and fell from, the sky last night over Brisbane over on the ABC News site.

Comet of space junk? The jury is still out for the moment, but there seems to be a good case for it actually being a comet.

And astronomers are predicting more comets in the days ahead.

A comet recently passed by Earth, about seven million miles out. It was close, but of no great danger.

Astronomer Andre Claydon believes we are passing through the "debris tail" of the comet.

"This could be a fragment from the comet itself," he told the ABC.

"Over the next two or three days we should see more of this happening..."

Jim Barclay is still not convinced.

"Most meteors do not, and I repeat, do not appear of the green-blue fluorescent colours that these people described. Metallic substances tend to burn up and give you that greeny-blue fluorescent colours where meteors are generally white in nature."

A few hundred Brisbanians, at least, witnessed the green light rip across the night sky. A number report seeing bits separating from the main body and falling to the ground.

One pilot, Steve, was at 11,000 feet over Casino when he witnessed the 'green comet' fragment right in front of him.

"It was just amazing," he told ABC News. "It just looked like it was just in front of us. It was very white from up there - just sort of went out in front of us and we saw ... red bits falling and then it just went out."

So, the planet is passing through the "debris tail" of a comet, then probably more spectacular sights like this one in our skies.

If it was space junk, then this may be the only one seen for now.

But that worries Barclay. He told the that the amount of old satellites and general space-race wreckage orbiting the earth was troubling. It all has to come down eventually, thanks to gravity, and not all of it will burn up in the atmosphere on re-entry.

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