Driving between Bathurst and Miramichi on New Year's Eve, one motorist and his passenger saw a different kind of fireworks in the sky.

Mike Gallant was on his way from Bathurst to Moncton when, at exactly 4:45 p.m., he saw a luminous teal-blue streak that lit up the darkening sky. "It looked like a meteor to me," he said. "It was clear as day to myself and my passenger."

He described the streak as being darker on the bottom and lighter in colour towards the top, although the entire object was extremely bright. "It completely brightened the sky," he said.

He explained that the object showed up suddenly, appearing to come from the clouds or above them, and disappeared without seeming to land. However, he said that it was impossible to tell how far away it might have been.

"It may have been miles," he said.

Meteorologist Claude Côté with Environment Canada in Fredericton said that this was the first report he had heard of a meteor sighting on New Year's Eve. But he added that Jan. 3 was the peak for the Quadrantid meteors, which can be seen streaking through the sky about this time each year, and that there was a report of a possible fireball sighting in the sky over Sainte-Anne-de-Kent on Dec. 28, a few days before Gallant's sighting.

A fireball, according to online encyclopedia Wikipedia, is an unusually bright meteor, which The International Astronomical Union defines as "a meteor brighter than any of the planets." Meteors are small particles of debris in space that enter the Earth's atmosphere and are seen as "shooting stars." They can range in size from grains of sand to boulders.

Gallant said he was surprised that no one else had reported seeing the flash of light on New Year's Eve, as there was a lot of traffic on the highway. He actually waited about a week to report the sighting himself, he said, for fear that no one would believe him.

He added that he spent the rest of the holidays researching the phenomenon. "My interest has been sparked," he said. "I'm quite interested in meteors." He continued that he has heard about quite a few meteor sightings in Canada recently, and footage he found on the Internet of a fireball in Lloydminster, Alberta in November looked familiar.

"What I saw looked a lot like that," he said.

Gallant added he wishes someone had recorded the meteor he saw, but they would pretty much have to have been already taping the sky when it happened. "It was so quick," he explained.

Overall, he said, it was a very memorable experience.

"It was quite scary, actually. I was pretty well floored by it." But nevertheless, he said, "I felt kind of lucky to see it."