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Bright light over Johannesburg: Meteor or prawns?

Staff Reporter

The "greenish, bluish" light over Johannesburg on Saturday night was almost certainly a meteor, an astronomer said on Sunday.

The “greenish, bluish” light over Johannesburg on Saturday night was almost certainly a meteor, an astronomer said on Sunday.

Johannesburg residents saw the bright light heading towards Pretoria at about 11pm on Saturday night.

“It moved over the Gauteng Province towards Limpopo ... it travels very fast and was about 90km up,” said Claire Flanagan, an astronomer at the Johannesburg Planetarium said on Sunday.

The meteor was a hot topic of discussion in the forum on mybroadband.co.za.

“I saw a light flash the sky at about 8pm, at first I thought I was imagining it, but my friend also saw it,” wrote a user.

“Maybe it’s people getting abducted by aliens ... I walked in the house looked out [and] the sky was lit. It looked how it normally [does] at 5am.”

Another wrote: “I [saw] it too in Hartbeespoort dam. Almost looked like daylight for a few seconds, not sure if it was a meteor or not ... pretty cool ...”

Others claimed to have heard and seen a “bright explosion”.

“I was in Lonehill sitting outside with some friends at around 11pm when my buddy noticed flashes in the distance. After he pointed, we looked up and that’s when the sky lit up like day for a second or two. The sky actually went blue.”

Flanagan said if a bang was heard, it meant the meteor had disintegrated.

“The speed which it was travelling at would have caused it to burn and then disintegrate,” she said.

Another user on the website said: “I think you guys should relax. Its Wikus Van der Merwe and his prawns,” in reference to the South African-made movie District 9.

Flanagan said the planetarium would be investigating the incident. - Sapa

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