"It sounds like a meteor has exploded in the atmosphere, coming in at a shallow trajectory."

‘Washing machine’ size fireball streaks across afternoon sky

A THEORY has emerged after a fireball was seen and heard racing through the sky across Far North Queensland in broad daylight this afternoon.

Residents across the region have seen a strange bright streak moving across the sky about 1.40pm, with reports coming from as far as Cardwell, Cairns and Mossman.

Amateur astronomer and Night Sky Secrets telescope shop owner Ian Maclean said he had heard of multiple sightings.

He believed the unusual phenomenon - which could also be heard as the lights finally petered out - was the result of a large meteor entering the earth's lower atmosphere.

Ian Maclean is an astronomer and owner of Night Sky Secrets in Cairns. PICTURE: MARC MCCORMACK
Ian Maclean is an astronomer and owner of Night Sky Secrets in Cairns. PICTURE: MARC MCCORMACK

"It sounds like a meteor has exploded in the atmosphere, coming in at a shallow trajectory," he said.

"It's obviously something fairly sizeable to explode in the atmosphere and be seen and heard in the daylight.

"It's got to be something like the size of a washing machine."

Mr Maclean said he was conducting further investigations using Bureau of Meteorology and Geoscience Australia data, as well as an international tool used to identify infrasonic readings to track nuclear explosions and the like.

"That's the sort of thing I'm looking for," he said.

Mr Maclean believed the object must have large enough to make it so close to the ground.

"All meteors enter the atmosphere about 60km up, but to be heard they have to enter the lower atmosphere," he said.

"So it was perhaps 30km up.

"It's still above the area where aircraft fly, but that's pretty low."



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