The object could be seen in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabians got their very own close encounter Monday night, when a bright object flew over the capital’s skyline at around 7.30pm. Not surprisingly, it quickly had the city’s residents asking on social media what it was. Was it a meteor, some asked? Others speculated it was a falling Chinese satellite or even, possibly, a UFO.
But no, its wasn’t proof of alien life, nor was it a meteorite as initially thought by officials (including the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, see their tweet below.
The Dubai Astronomy group have confirmed that the flaming fireball was in fact falling debris of the Progress space module, also known as the SL-4 R/B (42972U), a Russian cargo spacecraft (that was unmanned).
“The space craft disintegrated in the upper atmosphere and broke up into smaller chunks and burned like fireworks,” the group said in a statement.
They added that any pieces that survived would have landed in the Indian Ocean.
Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center confirmed that a meteorite has passed through the skies of Dubai pic.twitter.com/acPvBRTIp7
— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) October 16, 2017
Abu Dhabi’s residents posted a ton videos and photos of the phenomenon as it passed over the capital – check out our selection of the best ones below.
— Eric Michael (@SanelyEric) October 16, 2017
Awesome meteor shower in Abu Dhabi. My slow reactions got the worst photo of the it! pic.twitter.com/wQq9onjWZT
— Carl Hawkes (@carlhawkes) October 16, 2017
Of all the videos uploaded, this YouTube one shows the meteor in its full glory the best.
Initially, some people claimed it was an 8.5-ton Chinese space laboratory called Tiangong-1, which is breaking up and expected to crash on Earth in the next few months.
So yes, technically a spaceship, but if you were hoping this might be proof of alien life, you’re going to have to keep on looking at the night skies for a little bit longer.