There were sightings reported in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, parts of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
Inevitably Twitter was buzzing with speculation as to what people were seeing, with some calling a meteor shower, while others suggested that it might be the International Space Station.
But according to the founder of Dubai Astronomy Group the fire in the sky was actually a Russian space rocket breaking up as it entered Earth’s atmosphere.
According to the group what people saw on Monday night at about 7 p.m. was debris from a Progress rocket that had been used to supply the International Space Station.
“Such modules are guided in such a way that it burns in the air and does not fall into a populated area. This was of the Progress module that supplies the International Space Station with water, food and equipment. It is an unmanned vehicle that is totally autonomous, it docks at the station, the equipment is removed and it’s sent back where it burns in the atmosphere.”
The debris passed the Arabian Peninsula crossing over the UAE and Oman, the group explained.
But if you were confused and thought it was a meteor, there is no need to be too embarrassed because you were in good company.
Apparently the Dubai Media office initially tweeted “a meteor has passed through the skies of Dubai.”
But Al-Hariri explained to The National that there were differences between a meteor shower and falling debris.
“The clear evidence of a man-made object and event from a natural occurrence of a meteor fall is that meteor fire balls rush in at very high speed and burn in the atmosphere or explode in the sky leaving a trace of gas behind… A meteor glow would have been much bigger than what people saw last night.”
But Twitter users seemed convinced they were watching a meteor shower, which seems reasonable and the images they posted were very impressive.
Meteor shower lights up the Dubai skies pic.twitter.com/ZuRzLdD74u— VVIP (@VVIP) October 17, 2017