A mysterious fireball seen coming towards Earth over northern Bangkok and central Thailand lit up social media with dramatic video footage and feverish speculation, Daily Telegraph reports.
A bright white light was seen hurtling down through the blue sky and then apparently exploding, prompting theories that the blazing cascade was caused by anything from space debris or a burning balloon to a crashing space ship.
Dashcam video footage captured the phenomenon that played out in front of commuters during Monday morning rush hour.
Worawit said that he spotted the apparent meteor as he drove along a motorway in northern Bangkok. He estimated that it plunged at a speed of nearly 50 miles per second before disintegrating from the heat in what looked like an explosion leaving behind a trail of white smoke.
Saran Poshyachina, the deputy director of the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand, said the fireball could be a meteorite landing. But he also did not rule out the possibility it could be space junk.
Video clips and other evidence sent to the institute had been closely examined. It was believed the fireball was 80 to 120 kilometres above the earth, as it could be seen from many areas of Thailand.
“It was almost certainly a good-sized rock burning up in our atmosphere,” Phil Plait, a former member of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope Team and science popularizer, told dpa.
“It only took two seconds or so for it to go from being visible to it flaring as it disintegrated. It may have had a steep angle of entry.”
Most meteors completely burn up in space, but they are occasionally seen as dramatic fireballs entering the atmosphere. Most notably, the Chelyabinsk meteor was a “superbolide” that entered the atmosphere over Russia in February 2013. The fireball that streaked across the sky in the southern Ural was brighter than the Sun.