Fireball over New Zealand may have been satellite

Ben Hooper

Jan. 7 (UPI) -- A bright fireball that was caught on video breaking into pieces in the sky over New Zealand may have been a Russian satellite, experts said.

The fireball, which started as one bright light before breaking into smaller pieces, was recorded by multiple social media users in the sky over Tauranga about 9 p.m. Saturday.


Experts including physics professor Richard Easther and Ian Griffin, director of Otago Museum, said evidence indicates the object may have been a Russian satellite.

The Kosmos 2430 satellite, which was launched in 2007 to detect missile launches, was expected to reenter the atmosphere around the same time as the fireball was spotted.

Auckland Astronomical Society president Bill Thomas said he couldn't rule out the satellite theory, but he believes the fireball was most likely a meteor breaking up in the atmosphere.

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