Over the years there have been many strange sightings in the sky that have piqued our interest. Some have claimed they have seen Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) which always sparks a controversy about other life forms.
The latest sighting that is causing people to stir, is a flaming object that was seen hurtling through the Middle Eastern sky. Some are afraid that the object is an out-of-control space station. The bright object was seen by United Arab Emirates around 7:30 pm on Monday.
As to be expected, rumors started flying within minutes of the sighting and residents jumped to conclusions that the object was a meteor shower, a space station, or even the Chinese satellite Tiangong-1.
Another thing driving this fear is the fact that Chinese authorities admitted that they lost control of the 8.5-tonne space station, last year. The space station was named ‘Heavenly Palace,’ and it was expected to crash to Earth between October 2017 and April 2018.
“It was about 7:30 pm last night and I was just finishing up dragon boat practice on the shore in Abu Dhabi,” said 41-year-old, James who resides in Abu Dhabi. “I was chatting with a friend when we both looked into the sky and saw something burning up. As I was right by my car I reached into it and grabbed my phone to record whatever it was as it raced across the sky. It seemed to be burning too brightly to be a meteor. I have seen fireballs before and I know they look different to meteors.Earlier that day I had been reading about the Tiangong-1 satellite that was supposed to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere this year. I thought it could be that.
James went on to say that the object appeared to be breaking up into components.
“It certainly was an extraordinary sight, and definitely not something you see every day,” said James.
According to the Dubai Astronomy Group, the object was most likely a Russian Progress rocket. The group told the local news that the progress rocket is used to supply the International Space Station.
“When I analyzed the video it was clear this was falling space debris disintegrating in the atmosphere,” said Hasan Al Hariri, a member of the Dubai Astronomy Group. “Such modules are guided in such a way that it burns in the air and does not fall into a populated area. This was of the Progress module that supplies the International Space Station with water, food, and equipment. It is an unmanned vehicle that is totally autonomous, it docks at the station, the equipment is removed and it’s sent back where it burns in the atmosphere. The clear evidence of a man-made object and event from a natural occurrence of a meteor fall is that meteor fireballs rush in at very high speed and burn in the atmosphere or explode in the sky leaving a trace of gas behind.
Hasan Al Hariri went on to say that a meteor glow would’ve been much bigger than what people witnessed on Monday night.
According to satellite tracking services, the Progress module made its final pass before it re-entered on a trajectory across Afghanistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia. The final break up occurred at 7.28pm, right around the time it was spotted by residents.