Around half of the people in a Russian city hit by falling fragments from a meteorite saw the celestial visitor streak across the sky, but only a small number correctly identified it, an opinion poll said on Friday.
Some people believed they were witnessing a plummeting plane, a military attack, or a UFO, said the poll by the Moscow-based Public Opinion Foundation (or FOM).
Chunks of rock and the shock wave from a massive flaming meteorite injured more than 1,500 people and damaged thousands of buildings in the Urals city of Chelyabinsk on February 15.
The poll found that 47% of the people of Chelyabinsk, with a population of around one million, saw the meteorite with their own eyes.
Of those who saw the meteorite's spectacular arrival, 10% correctly guessed what they were seeing, the pollster found.
Forty per cent believed it was a falling plane, while eight per cent thought it was a rocket launch gone wrong.
Six per cent believed it was an explosion of some kind, while five per cent believed the city was under attack by rocket fire. Five per cent also believed it was the start of a war. Four per cent thought it was a UFO, while just one percent believed it was the end of the world.
Twenty-six per cent of respondents said the event had changed their outlook on life.
The majority believed the meteorite zoomed across Chelyabinsk entirely at random, but 14 per cent believed it was no coincidence.
The telephone survey was carried out among 500 respondents Feb 23-24.