A loud boom and "explosion" that shook Feilding on Wednesday morning is likely burning pieces of asteroids entering the atmosphere, a planetary astronomer says.

The event over Manawatū District turned clouds orange, and caused residents to wonder if there had been an explosion or an earthquake.

Kath Hopping​ said she was sitting outside her house before her morning run about 6.50am when an "explosion in the sky" shook her house and stopped her.

She said it sounded like a gas tanker had exploded nearby, or she thought there could have been an earthquake, but she couldn't see anything nearby, and went to check her security camera.

The footage showed what looked like a fireball turning clouds into bright orange for a few seconds.

"I checked the cameras to see if there was anything ... and that's when I saw the explosion in the sky.

"What the hell was that? That was a wow moment," she said.

Hopping said she was surprised by how many people got in touch with her through social media, sharing their experience of the loud bang, after she posted the video online.

She said she did not have a clue about what could have caused it, but she was sure it was something that happened quickly in the clouds.

"The only thing I could think of is a meteor ... it just looked like there was an explosion in the clouds.

"It was obviously quite widely felt in our district anyway.

"It was just weird, I have never seen anything like that."

University of Canterbury planetary astronomer Michele Bannister said it was "wonderful" that more people were noticing fireballs in the sky.

The fireball was likely tiny pieces of an asteroid burning up in the atmosphere, which happened on a regular basis, she said.

"It's wonderful people are noticing them more now because we are able to do scientific studies of them as a result of people making these reports.

"So, if people see this kind of events, what we'd ask they do is go to fireballs.nz and report the fireballs for us, because that will help us be able to understand more about how many of these are happening in our skies.

"They would help us understand how the history of the Solar System led to these little worlds travelling near the Earth. And if one of these does come through the atmosphere and leads to the dropping of meteorite help us being able to recover [it]," she said.

She said Fireball Aotearoa invited people, schools and public buildings to mount cameras on their roofs, record and share these events, as they would help put together the history for the cosmos.

When Bannister lived in Canada she had even seen a line of fire across the sky from a fireball, she said, so the people in Manawatū would have enjoyed a "good light show".

Jane Small was one of the residents that heard the loud boom and felt it.

"I live in Colyton and one of my dogs took off petrified. It sounded and felt like the start of a big earthquake."