Meteor re-enters the Earth's atmosphere before breaking up off the coast of Tasmania

A research vessel off the coast of Tasmania has captured footage of a meteor shooting through the sky before breaking up over the ocean.

The footage was captured by the Investigator, a CSIRO research vessel, operating in the area.

Voyager manager on board the RV Investigator John Hooper said capturing the footage was a stroke of luck.

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"What we saw on reviewing the livestream footage astounded us, the size and brightness of the meteor was incredible," he said.

"The meteor crosses the sky directly in front of the ship and then breaks up - it was amazing to watch and we were very fortunate that we captured it all on the ship livestream."

Glen Nagle from the CSIRO's astronomy and space science division said the footage was an exciting reminder that space is far from empty.

He had more than 100 tonnes of space junk reenters the Earth's atmosphere every day, most of which goes unseen over places like the Southern Ocean.

"When a meteor enters the Earth's atmosphere at high-speed, it is the friction of rock with the atmosphere that makes them burn, as their kinetic energy is converted to other forms like heat, light and sound.

"Many meteors were once asteroids, travelling through space on their own trajectory," Mr Nagle said.

"This changes as they pass close to Earth, where they can be affected by its gravitational pull.

"As they enter our atmosphere, they become meteors - and their entry can be visually spectacular."

At the time it captured the footage the Investigator was about 100 km south of Tasmania.

It was in the area to undertake seafloor mapping of a nearby marine park, conduct oceanographic studies and run sea trials for a variety of marine equipment.

This story Watch a meteor break up over Southern Ocean first appeared on The Examiner.