Feb. 28 (UPI) -- A mystery "fireball" that sparked rumors of UFOs when it was spotted streaking across the sky over Australia was actually just an airplane, experts said.
The object, which appeared to be engulfed in flames, sparked numerous rumors and theories early Tuesday morning when it was seen in the sky over Hobart, Tasmania, and witnesses reported it appeared to be moving too slowly to be a meteor.
A particularly clear video of the object posted to Facebook by Lee-Anne Peters helped experts determine the object's actual identity -- a plane that appeared to be on fire due to the early morning sun's rays reflecting off the water vapor released by the aircraft.
Chris Arkle, an astronomer at the Launceston Planetarium, said he was confident of the object's identity.
"Apparently some international flights to and from New Zealand use Hobart as a way point," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. "The length of time that the object was visible for and its apparent speed both support this hypothesis. If the object was a fireball meteor it would be traveling much faster and generally not be visible for such an extended period."
The time the object was sighted corresponds with the flight of an Emirates plane en route to Auckland from Dubai.