Fireball - stock image

Fireball (stock image)
People across the country are reporting what is possibly a meteor shining bright as it passed overhead on Friday night. The "huge fireball or space junk re-entry" was reported in the skies above the capital from about 7.30pm.

A resident in the Upper Hutt suburb of Totara Park said they thought it was space junk after seeing three bright objects. "I came outside [for a cigarette] and something caught my eye, it was very, very bright and moving fast.

"It was phenomenally big, it was glowing orange in the middle with green on the sides - it was like a firework, it got brighter and brighter, whiter and whiter." The object was seen heading south.

"It was halfway across the sky and took about four seconds to cross the ocean, I think it was quite close [to the ground]. It's probably one of the most phenomenal things I've ever seen."

Paul Andrews was travelling south on Wellington's Happy Valley Road when it flew overhead. "It was a very bright fluorescent green colour with quite a long tail, looked like it was breaking up as it was getting closer to crashing into the ocean. "It seemed very close, almost looked like it was going to land out in Cook Strait."

Mark Stanton, who saw the object from Upper Hutt, said it was either "huge or very close". But it wasn't just Wellingtonians who saw it. Amberlie Hernandez said she spotted the object from New Plymouth.

"I saw something flash across the sky on my drive home around 7-7.30pm. I'm glad to know I'm not the only who saw something across the sky tonight. It was very bright."

Christchurch woman Kellie, who did not give her surname, said she and her daughter also saw it about 7pm. "It was super bright with a hint of green in it. Very pretty to see. Thought it was more than just a shooting star."

Margaret Tate was driving home toward Rangiora when she thought she saw a shooting star. "It was surrounded in green and fell suddenly from the sky, disappearing in a split second, amazing and slightly spooky because of the colour," she said.

Carter Observatory staff could not be reached for comment.

A similar object was spotted over New Zealand in mid-July, with experts deeming it to be "space junk", burning up on its re-entry into the atmosphere.