WATCH | Was it a meteor? A shooting star? SA abuzz after 'bright, shining object' flies through sky

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  • The bright, shining travelling object captured by cameras on Tuesday night could be a meteor or other object.
  • A specialist in astrophysics said the object could also have been a satellite or pieces of an old rocket travelling through the sky.
  • The direction of the object is unknown.


Possibilities of a meteor having reached Earth have not been ruled out.

Social media was abuzz with people claiming that the bright, shining travelling light captured on camera on Tuesday night was a meteor.

However, University of the Western Cape professor of astrophysics, Carolina Ödman-Govender, said the light could have been a meteor, a satellite or pieces of an old rocket travelling in the sky.

"It looked like an old satellite, or a piece of rocket burning higher in the atmosphere because it happened after sunset, and it was bright. It could be a meteor.

"It looked like it was breaking up. It also looked like a shooting star. We are not ruling out the possibility of the object being a meteor. Around planet Earth, there are pieces of rocks and some cross orbits around the sun and start to fall towards planet Earth. Sometimes they create beautiful light.

"It was travelling over a large part of the sky. The direction the object was heading is not known," Ödman-Govender said.

Daniel Cunnuma, an astronomer at the South African Astronomical Observatory, told the Pretoria Rekord the object could also possibly have been a "shooting star".

"From what I can see, it is not a meteor shower. A meteor shower occurs when you have a whole lot of meteors over a course of a night or a few days," he told the publication.

Cunnuma said teams would most likely try to determine if the object may have hit the ground.

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