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Aircraft contrail causes mysterious ‘fireball’ filmed in Perth sky

Just weeks after a meteor zipped across Perth’s night sky, a second mysterious fireball-like object has been filmed over the city.

Three weeks after a meteor lit up the sky, and social media, several people have reported seeing an orange-hued ball streaking across the air above the CBD on Tuesday, about 6pm.

But an expert says the mystery object is far from being an astronomical phenomenon and was actually caused by passing aircraft.

Curtin University scientist Renae Sayers witnessed the object above West Perth about 6pm and said it was a contrail, caused by a jet exhaust.

Ms Sayers said the contrail, which is short for condensation trail, are ice crystals which left the aircraft in a straight line.

Some trails can stay in the atmosphere all day, depending upon the temperature and humidity at the altitude the contrails form.

The contrail seen above Perth.The contrail seen above Perth.
Camera IconThe contrail seen above Perth.

According to Contrail Science, contrails are considered a type of cirrus cloud and when the air is wet and cold enough, the trails can stay around for a long time, and sometimes spread out.

Ms Sayers said the sunset on Tuesday had created the unique orangey-red glow on the contrail as it moved through the sky.

“Perth definitely has fireball fever but that (a contrail) is definitely what is was,” she said.

“It was just so pretty. It would be a horizontal line just like a plane’s path would be but it’s just our perspective of it which made it look different.

“With the reflection of the sun you see these gorgeous pink and orange colours.”

Ms Sayers is the coordinator of the Fireballs in the Sky program which helps people understand unusual happenings in the sky.

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