10 Jul 2008

Meteor seen over New Zealand's west coast

5:53 pm on 10 July 2008

A bright meteor was spotted over the west coast of New Zealand on Wednesday night, causing a flurry of calls to police.

The meteor was seen from from Westport to Wanganui, about 11pm.

Astronomers say the sightings were of just one meteor, believed to be the size of a softball.

Police communications team leader Chris Turner says people mentioned seeing bright, green lights in the western sky, and one person saw a ball of light entering the atmosphere and flaming out.

Mr Turner says an Air New Zealand pilot also witnessed the event.

Astronomer and superintendent at Mt John University Observatory, Alan Gilmore, says such meteors are common in New Zealand, but are often not able to be seen as they are obscured by cloud.