'Meteor explosion' captured by netizens

After a trail of fire and smoke streaked across the sky over Bangkok and several provinces on Monday morning, people took to social media sites to post videos and photographs and debate whether it was either a meteor, space junk, a burning balloon, an aircraft or a helicopter? Some gamely decided invaders from outer space.

Netizens described what they saw as a large, bright fireball streaking across the sky above Bangkok, Uthai Thani, Kanchanaburi and Nakhon Ratchasima about 8.40am, leaving behind a trail of smoke.

Thai Astronomical Society president Prapee Viraporn confirmed that the phenomenon was a small meteor explosion. 

Ms Prapee said a similar incident happened in Chelyabinsk, Russia, on Feb 15, 2013.

Suparerk Karuehanon, an academic at the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand, also said the trail of smoke was likely an astronomical event, not an air crash as some netizens predicted, because it was seen in many areas of the country.

"People should not worry because they are no larger than 10 metres and most of them entirely burn up in the atmosphere," Mr Suparerk told reporters.

Previously, information on satellite tracking website suggested the flaming object was space junk FLOCK 1B-11 (40459U), which was due to burn through the atmosphere on its way to earth about that time.

An official at the Bangkok Planetarium told Jor Sor 100 radio that what was seen across the sky this morning might be a burning balloon.

Maj Gen Nat Intracharoen, commander of the 9th Infantry Division, said there were no reports of an aircraft crashing in Kanchanaburi or nearby provinces on Monday morning.

However, many locals in Nakhon Ratchasima clearly believed it was an air crash and more than 100 people got together to help find the debris.

The first four clips of the 'meteor explosion' compilation video below were taken in Bangkok. The fifth clip was captured in Kanchanaburi.

Video credits: YouTube users Mesapong Poojeenapun, SpringNews and Mesapong Poofeenapun, and Facebook users Nipon Ployngarm and Giants Er

Published: 7 Sep 2015