Astronomers say it was a fragment of an asteroid that burned up after entering the atmosphere.
A rooftop camera at a museum in the city of Hiratsuka, near Tokyo, captured the fireball leaving a white streak while flying toward the southwestern horizon around 6:15 AM.
Museum curator Ken Tsukada says the object’s brightness was many times that of Venus and almost equal to that of a half moon.
It was also seen by a driver in Kyoto, western Japan, around the same time.
He said he saw a gleaming fireball high in the southern sky.
Images of the object were recorded by his dashboard camera.
An NHK camera at Japan’s tallest structure, Tokyo Skytree, captured the fireball falling in the western sky around 6:15 AM. Another NHK camera in western Japan recorded it at the same time.
Images of the object and sighting reports were posted on Twitter and other social network sites.
Associate Professor Hitoshi Yamaoka at the National Astronomical Observatory said the asteroid piece several centimeters in diameter burned up after entering the atmosphere over the Kansai region in western Japan.
Yamaoka also said fireballs are a daily phenomenon observed around the world.
He says the spread of dashboard and outdoor cameras has recently made it easy to capture them, and that the images are shared widely on the internet.
Source: NHK Image: YouTube (NNN)