- BERLIN (Reuters) - Numerous
sightings of massive fireballs in the skies over Germany this week have
led to an upsurge in reports of UFOs, but scientists believe the cause
could be a bizarre annual meteor blitz.
- According to the Web site of the U.S. 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 Web site on
unexplained astronomical phenomena and a hotline for reports on unidentified
flying objects (UFO).
- "The last reported sighting was yesterday at 7:30
p.m. (1830 GMT) in a corridor near the border of the Netherlands,"
he told Reuters in a telephone interview.
- "This week we have had at least 15 emails and phone
calls from people reporting these fireballs," he said. "Some
people said it looks like something out of a science fiction horror film."
- 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."
- "It is possible that they are UFOs, which are after
all things which we cannot explain," he said.
- NASA's science Web site (http://science.nasa.gov) mentions
reports of recent fireball sightings in the United States, Canada, the
Netherlands, North Ireland and Japan. It includes images of the fireballs,
which one man 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 Web site 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.