IT appeared against the early evening sky like a flare - moments later roofs rattled and verandas shook as it crashed to earth.

Immediately, the telephones of neighbours and friends within a 250-kilometre radius south of Alice Springs began ringing to discuss the meteorite that had flashed through the dusk on Friday night.

"I was outside with the children when I noticed them looking up at the sky," said Nicole Buddle from Hugh River Farms.

"I looked up and saw this white magnesium flare with smoke swirling. It was hard to see against the setting sun."

She called neighbour Ross Morton 40 kilometres away. "He said he had been feeding the cats on the veranda and felt the roof shake."

Further south, Barry Abbott was sitting outside at the Ilpurla community. "We heard a hell of a bang and looked up and saw all this blue smoke directly above us. It was a clear sky; we have no idea what it was," he said.

Sergeant Gert Johnsson at Hermannsberg police station was already aware of the situation after being alerted by locals from the remote Wallace Rockhole community who reported a bright light trailing smoke as it scorched through the night sky and a loud bang. "I am guessing it's space debris or a meteorite," Sergeant Johnsson said yesterday. "We ruled out the chance of it being a plane - they are all accounted for - and I don't know what else could be travelling through the sky at such speed."

Piecing together the sightings across the Northern Territory enabled Sergeant Johnsson to conclude the smoking flare across the sky was some type of meteorite. "It looks like it came in a westerly direction at great speed and came down sometime around 7pm," he said.

Police officers were dispatched but were unable to find a crater in the remote outback.

They are now waiting to see if the impact registered as seismic activity on recording instruments in the United States.

The meteor was spotted near where the Henbury Meteor struck 4700 years ago. That giant meteor was travelling at more than 40,000kmh when it disintegrated and hit Earth, creating 12 giant craters 145 kilometres south-west of Alice Springs.

Friday night's mysterious appearance from space was three days late for UFO theorists, who had long predicted that aliens would land on Earth on October 14, 2008.