Meteor strike reported off Queensland coast

By AG Staff Writer 27 September 2016
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Reports of a bright flash and a loud boom in Central Queensland last night have prompted speculation of a meteor strike.

HUNDREDS OF QUEENSLANDERS have reported seeing a bright flash followed by a loud boom, in what it looks like may have been a fiery meteor off the coast of Gladstone last night.

The ‘bright light’ – shown in the above CCTV footage captured on Boyne Island, 25km south of Gladstone just before 8.30pm – was reportedly seen as far south as Hervey Bay and as far north as Yeppoon.

The video was shared by Ellie Thompson on the Higgins Storm Chasing Facebook page, a Queensland-based group that shares weather forecasts, photos and alerts.

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Early reports linked a magnitude-3.5 earthquake off the coast of Airlie Beach to the meteor, however the earthquake hit two hours later and was unlikely related.

Emerald resident Jim told the ABC he saw a “bright ball-type thing and then all of a sudden a big orange tail.” Others reported houses and cars shaking.

A Harvard astrophysicist, Jonathan McDowell, told the Gladstone Observer the bright light, boom and shaking was most likely caused by a meteor about a metre across, the biggest one in several years. 

“It’s not a comet, or Queensland wouldn’t exist anymore (and we’d have seen it coming for days),” he pointed out.

There have been no reports of damage caused by the meteor last night, and a meteorite (the name for the pieces of a meteor that hit the ground) has yet to be located.

In February 2013, incredible footage of a near-Earth asteroid entering the atmosphere over Russia emerged. The blast created by the meteor’s air burst caused extensive damage and hundreds of people were injured.