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'Great fireball' spotted in South Australian skies

A leading Australian astronomer believes a large meteor may have hit the earth near Adelaide last night.

Early yesterday evening, South Australian police were inundated with reports of sonic booms, earth tremors and sightings of a blue streak in the sky.

Ken, from Hindmarsh Island, 100 kilometres south of Adelaide, says he heard a whoosh.

"It came straight over the top and left a huge smoke trail and there was two huge sonic booms afterwards," he said.

"It was incredible - I've never seen anything like it."

Bryan Boyle from the Anglo-Australian Telescope in New South Wales believes the explosion was a meteor making contact with the earth's atmosphere.

He says it was within about 30 kilometres of the ground or maybe even closer.

"It does sound like there could well have been an impact like that on the ground," he said.

He expects astronomers to begin their search for any remnants today.

But he says regardless of whether it hit the ground, it was an extremely rare event and will go down in history.

"The great fireball of Adelaide 2002," he said.

"You would not get many events like this happening even over the face of the earth in a year and for some people to see it near a populated region, that's even more remarkable.

"I think the people that saw it should count themselves very lucky."




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