Meteor Or Russian Satellite? Fireball In The Sky Raises Questions

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A fireball was seen above North Island on Saturday night (Representative Image)

A bright fireball was witnessed on Saturday night in the skies above New Zealand's North Island, leaving a lot of viewers guessing about what it could be. Pictures and videos of the fireball went viral on social media shortly after it was seen streaking across the sky over Tauranga at around 9 pm on Saturday night.

According to WVLT, social media users reported hearing a loud boom and a rumble after seeing the fireball breaking in two, leading to a debate about whether the fireball was a satellite or a meteor.

Take a look at a video of the fireball below:

Just saw what might be a meteorite over Gisborne- looked like it went to earth further east. Hear us all buzzz out!

— Simon Pound (@simon_pound) January 5, 2019

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According to UPI, some experts, including physics professor Richard Easther and Ian Griffin, director of Otago Museum, say that evidence indicates that the mysterious fireball was a Russian satellite.

A Russian military early warning satellite had been predicted to re-enter Earth's atmosphere, Richard Easther said on Twitter.

Ok — internet seems to be saying it WAS space junk, a Russian military early warning satellite; would have been over NZ at the right time; was predicted to reenter, although this is a week or two early

— Richard Easther (@REasther) January 5, 2019

However, others were of the opinion that the object was most likely a meteor. Auckland Astronomical Society president Bill Thomas told local media that while he could not rule out the satellite theory, the fireball was more likely a meteorite.

Satellite or meteorite, the mysterious fireball definitely lit up social media:

#meteor shower #Auckland#NewZealand Wow!

— Katrina Power (@Katrina_Power) January 5, 2019

Caught a good view of the sunset meteor shower over the east coast of New Zealand @[email protected]/0AhnH7p7lK

— Daniel Kraemer (@dcakraemer) January 5, 2019

In November, Texas, USA, residents were stunned to see a huge blue fireball lighting up the sky.

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