Gauteng UFO identified

2009-11-22 16:03

Johannesburg - It was a meteor which lit up the skies over Johannesburg and Pretoria on Saturday night, an astronomer has confirmed.

"What people saw last night was almost certainly a meteor," Claire Flanagan an astronomer at the Johannesburg Planetarium said on Sunday.

People saw a bright "greenish, bluish" light heading towards Pretoria at about 23:00 on Saturday night.

"It moved over the Gauteng Province towards Limpopo... it travels very fast and was about 90km up," said Flanagan.

The meteor was a hot topic of discussion in the forum on

"I saw a light flash the sky at about 20:00, at first I thought I was imagining it, but my friend also saw it," wrote someone who saw the meteor.

"... Maybe it's people getting abducted by aliens...I walked in the house looked out [and] the sky was lit. It looked how it normally [does] at 05:00."

Another wrote: "I [saw] it too in Hartbeespoort dam. Almost looked like daylight for a few seconds, not sure if it was a meteor or not... pretty cool..."

Others claimed to have heard and seen a "bright explosion".

"I was in Lonehill sitting outside with some friends at around 23:00 when my buddy noticed flashes in the distance. After he pointed, we looked up and that's when the sky lit up like day for a second or two. The sky actually went blue."

Flanagan said if a bang was heard, it meant that the meteor had disintegrated in the sky.

"The speed which it was travelling at would have caused it to burn and then disintegrate," she said.

Another user on the website said: "I think you guys should relax. Its Wikus Van der Merwe and his prawns," in reference to the South African-made movie District 9 which sets Johannesburg as the home of alien creatures.

Flanagan said that if the meteor had landed it would not have caused a major impact.

She could not say how big it was as it was unexpected, and not connected with any kind of shower, but said the planetarium would be investigating the incident.