Is This Mystery Fireball Over Thailand a Meteor? The Answer Isn’t Quite So Simple
by Shelley Hazen
The skies above Thailand were ablaze Monday with a mysterious fireball, captured on numerous dash-cams and cell phone cameras during the country’s morning rush hour.
And no one yet knows what it is, though a meteor could be a safe bet. The other top contenders are space junk and a burning balloon, CNN reported.
The fireball was seen all over Bangkok and in other parts of Thailand. In the footage, taken by dozens of Thais and posted on social media, the mysterious object is seen crossing the bright blue sky before exploding in a ball of fire and disappearing as it falls to Earth.
Observers estimate it burned up 62 miles above Thailand.
Satellite engineer Porjai Jaturongkhakun recorded the supposed meteor as he drove to work; he told Agence France Presse about his experience.
“It was the middle of a blue sky day and there was a quick, bright light coming down. I usually see shooting stars at night but I have never seen one in the day before.”
The deputy director of Thailand’s National Astronomical Research Institute said he believed it was extraterrestrial, and not a satellite, since it streaked across the sky in the wrong direction. Saran Poshyachinda said it was most likely an asteroid.
Another member of the institute, Voravit Tanvuttibundit, said, “It was a meteor for sure, I am confident, because it was fast and very bright. It is a normal occurrence but the meteor this morning was especially big and very bright.”
Trouble is, according to ABC News, the Bangkok Planetarium hasn’t reported that a meteorite landed anywhere after the fireball was seen in the city. Space junk is also highly possible, as an object in space was expected to fall to Earth around the same time the fireball was seen.
— Thitapa Siripipat (@Pingz_TRnews) September 7, 2015
Though remarkable, if a meteor, the sight in Thailand was actually quite normal. A meteor is simply a space rock that falls through the Earth’s atmosphere so fast it burns up in a flash of light, Discovery added. Sometimes, these rocks are much bigger.
Normal as they are, some people in Thailand saw the meteor (or space junk, or burned balloon) as an ill omen. One person declared on Facebook that it was a sign “the country and government are in chaos.”
Whatever it was, the fireball brought to mind a much scarier, but no less spectacular, meteorite that fell near Russia in 2013 — also caught on dash-cams — and destroyed buildings and injured 1,200 people when it crashed with an ear-splitting boom that shook the Earth.
[Photo Courtesy YouTube Screengrab]
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