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The larger the object, the more spectacular the flash. Where your typical meteor is caused by an object the size of a grain of dust (or, for a particularly bright one, a grain of rice), fireballs like those seen this week are caused by much larger bodies – the size of a grapefruit, a melon or even a car.
Such impacts are rarer than their tiny siblings because there are many more small objects in the Solar system than larger bodies.
Spectacular footage has emerged of a meteor soaring over south-eastern Australia overnight, engulfing the night sky in a brilliant explosion of light.
Dashcam and CCTV vision show a ball of light racing through the sky before exploding just before midnight, triggering reports from Adelaide to the Gippsland coast in Victoria’s east.
Vice President of the Astronomical Society Perry Vlahos told 9News that it’s relatively rare to see a “piece of space dust” that “bright in the sky.”