Flaming UFOs in Lawrence
"I SAW a UFO and somebody believed me".
This was the case for Lawrence resident of four years Rex Brasington when he spotted two bright orange/red balls of light over Lawrence on Saturday night
Shortly after analysing photos of one the mystery balls, respected Australian astronomer David Reneke identified it as a fireball.
Mr Brasington said he spotted the first of two bright lights when he got up to take medication for a chronic back problem.
Mr Brasington said the first light he and his wife saw passed from the south-east to the north-west, then lost its illumination as it passed by.
Unfortunately, he said wasn't fast enough to capture a photo.
"By the time I got my camera it had gone out to the north-west and there wasn't enough light shining from it," he said.
He said they then saw a second object about five minutes after the first.
"I had my camera and was able to take three shots, they probably lasted three to three-and-a-half minutes in the sky."
After spending many of his years in Central Australia, Mr Brasington said he had never seen anything like this before.
"I spent most of my life in the outback and I have never seen anything at all like this."
"I spent 20-odd years on the edge of the Tanami Desert and if you're going to see something, that's where you would see it."
An astronomer with more than 40 years experience, Mr Reneke said after analysing the photo he decided it showed a fireball.
"I am convinced that this was, and there was a lot of it at the time, a fireball," he told ABC North Coast Radio yesterday.
"The weather conditions at the time were conducive to a fireball."
Mr Reneke said this year there had been numerous reports of fireballs from all over the globe that had attracted the attention of millions of people, even American space agency NASA.
"We have had fireballs over the past few weeks all around the world."
"There have been some amazing reports."
"These fireballs are actually rocks that are on fire."
Bill Cooke of the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center said this month, some big space rocks have been hitting Earth's atmosphere.
"They all hail from the asteroid belt, but not from a single location in the asteroid belt," he said.
"There is no common source for these fireballs, which is puzzling."
Meteor expert and University of Western Ontario professor Peter Brown said the "fireballs of February" have puzzled astronomers for decades.
"Skywatchers first noticed an increase in the number of deep-penetrating, bright meteors during February back in the 1960s and '70s,"he said.
"Research has been inconclusive, some studies reporting a surge in February and others detecting no such trend."