'Green comet' spotted in Dubai sky confuses residents

Theories abound as residents attempt to explain what some have dubbed a "green comet", and others called a "low-flying flare" or firework flying over the UAE on Sunday night

DUBAI,UAE - MARCH 5:  A General view of Dubai skyline at Night on March 05, 2016 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Rustam Azmi/Getty Images)
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Confusion abounds over a strange light seen flashing through the Dubai sky on Sunday night.

UAE residents took to social media at around 7pm, asking the public for clues on what some have dubbed a "green comet", and others called a "low-flying flare" or firework.

Erwin Viado was stuck in slow moving traffic in Al Wasl when his colleague pointed out the object in the sky.

"That thing was low, like a flare glaring with a tail. It looked bigger than a usual shooting star, almost like a firework," he said.

Stu Todd was in Media City, near Media One Hotel, when he saw a "bright green light".

"It looked to be very low in the sky and appeared to be shooting downwards like it was going to land in the amphitheatre area of Media City."

Afterwards, he was DJing at a hotel in Media City, when he saw "two stars racing across the sky".

"I've seen meteor showers and comets before, but I've never seen anything like that before."

A Dubai resident, who did not want to be named, was stuck in traffic on Sheikh Zayed Road when she saw "something like a comet, or a weird firecracker, or a green light".

"It literally crossed Sheikh Zayed Road and ended up behind the showroom and villas. I thought it would ignite a fire or a small explosion but then when the traffic allowed me to go further where I saw it 'falling' I saw nothing at all."

Some wondered if the light was the laser positioned on top of the Burj Khalifa, which flashes across Dubai each night.

However, Dubai Astronomy Group chief executive Hasan Al Hariri said the phenomenon was likely to be a meteor burning up in the atmosphere, as part of the Quadrantids meteor shower.

The shower was expected to peak on January 3 and 4, but falling debris could be expected in the following days, Mr Al Hariri said.

He said a small, falling rock often took on a greenish hue as it burned up in the atmosphere.

"It looks like a greenish light coming down quite slowly," he said.

He said the occurence was "quite common", with notifications of falling meteors at least once a year. There were several other explanations, he said, including burning gas exiting the nozzle of a launching spacecraft, or the discharge of particles above a thunderstorm, but these are much rarer occurrences.

An Ajman resident also pondered whether he had seen a meteor shower at about the same time.

The National Centre of Meteorology directed queries to the UAE Space Agency.

It is not the first time strange objects have lit up the UAE skies in recent months. In October, residents across the UAE watched in awe as a flaming object whizzed through the night sky.

Many took to social media, puzzled at what the object could possibly be, musing over whether it was a meteor, a space station, or an unidentified object.

While the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre initially confirmed the object as a meteor, the Dubai Astronomy Group later put forward their own theory that it was debris from a falling Russian rocket used to supply the International Space Station.

Did you see anything? Send your stories, pictures and videos to online@thenational.ae.


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