London: On the evening of June 7, thousands of people in Israel, Turkey, Jordan, Cyprus and Lebanon got the shock of their lives, as they watched a spinning 'UFO' performing cartwheels in the sky.
Police in these countries were flooded with phonecalls by panicked residents, as the white, gleaming light danced high up in the atmosphere.
Theories abounded over what this could be - a failing missile test, a satellite breaking up in our atmosphere, or a visit from an alien spacecraft.
But experts believe it might be caused by a failed test rocket launched by Russian military, the Daily Mail reported.
The event began at around 8:45pm in the evening, and after a few hours of panic, the Defense Ministry in Moscow said a test rocket had been launched just six minutes before that time.
They called it a successful launch, although a leaked and then supressed video apparrently shows the missile beginning to fail.
If this is the case, then the spirals of light in the sky is fuel spewing out from the missile as it burns in a fierce cartwheel through the sky, creating the startling geocentric shapes.
The missile is thought to be 120 to 180 miles in the sky that, at the top end of the scale, is roughly half as high as the International Space Station, at 345miles.
If it was a missile exploding at that height, it explains why the spectacle could be seen from such a wide swathe of countries.
Israeli Astronomical Association Chairman Dr. Yigal Pat-El said it was most likely a missile.
“It most likely spun out of control and its remnants and the fuel was what people saw. It reached a height of 200-300 kilometers and that's why it was seen from so many locations,” he explained.
First Published: Saturday, June 09, 2012, 16:17