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Fireballs spark UFO speculation

Fireballs spark UFO speculation

Sightings of massive fireballs have led to an upsurge in reports of UFOs, while scientists believe it could be a meteor blitz.

Berlin: Numerous sightings of massive fireballs in the skies over Germany this week have led to an upsurge in reports of unidentified flying objects (UFOs), but scientists believe the cause could be a bizarre annual meteor blitz.

According to the website of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), such fireballs have been reported elsewhere in the world and may also be due to the fact that the Earth is now orbiting through a swarm of space debris.

Many people in Germany have noticed the fireballs, said Werner Walter, an amateur astronomer in Mannheim who runs a website on unexplained astronomical phenomena.

"The last reported sighting was on Friday at 2400 hrs IST in a corridor near the border of the Netherlands. Some people said it looks like something out of a science fiction horror film," Walter said.

In addition to a possible meteor streak, Walter said amateur and professional astronomers were considering the possibility that the blitz was the result of a "falling satellite or UFOs".

NASA's science website mentions reports of recent fireball sightings in the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, North Ireland and Japan. It includes images of the fireballs, which have been likened to a spotlight.

Walter described them as "super-large, coloured fireballs that shoot with the speed of lightning through the sky".

However, the NASA website quotes meteor expert David Asher from the Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland as saying that people "are probably seeing the Taurid meteor shower".

Taurids are meteors that shoot out of the constellation Taurus, which peaks at the end of October and early November.

first published:November 05, 2005, 13:42 IST