Bright light in Far North Queensland sky likely a low and large meteor

A skyward event described by Far North Queenslanders as sounding like thunder and looking like a giant sparkler was most likely a meteor, parts of which hit the earth.

That’s the initial view of observational astronomer Dr Michael Brown, going off reports stretching across a wide area from Tully to Cooktown and west to Ravenshoe.

The event occurred at around 2PM in the north sky.

“It was like a really bright thick shooting star or a flare streaking across the sky,” a Cooktown resident said.

“It was a bright streak in the sky to the north,” said a man from the northern beaches.

“There was what sounded like a rumble of thunder and it was enough for us to stop what we were doing,” was among the reports from Miallo.

Monash University’s Dr Brown, who’s also part of the Astronomical Society of Australia, told Tropic Now that going off descriptions alone is difficult but a meteor certainly fits the bill.

“It sounds bigger and lower than the standard meteor,” he said.

“The sparks coming off it means it could be a bigger than average meteor or possibly a piece of space junk.

“The fact it made a rumbling sound suggests it did come in quite low and small bits of it made it to the ground.

“It suggests the sonic boom was heard and that implies an altitude of 10-20 kilometres.”

He’s urging residents to check their dash cams.

“I’ve certainly seen examples of daytime meteors that have been picked up by dash cams,” he said.

“There has been a lot of dash cam footage of meteors in recent years, it's becoming more and more common.”