A blazing object believed to be a large meteor whizzed through the night sky over Japan on Nov. 21.

It was visible for a few seconds around 9:30 p.m. and flashed with intense light a few times before vanishing, witnesses said.

The stunning display sparked an explosion of activity on social media.

"It's a fireball ... a big meteor," said Chisato Yamauchi, 43, a researcher at Misato astronomical observatory in Wakayama Prefecture, who watched video footage of the event online.

"Fragments of sand and stone moving through space lit up due to friction upon entering Earth's atmosphere," he explained.

Yasuo Shiba, 56, an executive of Nippon Meteor Society, noted the scarcity of such intensely bright objects over Japan, saying, "Such brightness could be observed only a handful of times in any given year."

"It lit up for about three seconds. It is almost certainly a fireball," said Shiba, who recorded the night show from Akashi, Hyogo Prefecture.

Shiba added that the object was likely part of the Taurids, an annual meteor shower that is observed from October through November.