Social media was abuzz Sunday after reports that an object emitting an intense light had been spotted falling from the skies above Japan in the early hours of the morning.

Supplied photo taken from video footage of a fireball seen in Gifu Prefecture, central Japan. (Kyodo)

The fireball, believed to be a bolide -- a type of shooting star often compared to a full moon for its brightness -- could be seen clearly from parts of western and central Japan.

A man in his 20s living in Gifu Prefecture was able to capture the shooting star on camera as it momentarily lit up the sky at around 1:35 a.m. Sunday morning.

"It made a rumbling noise," one Twitter user wrote, while another said, "The sky went totally bright."

Takeshi Inoue, director of the Akashi Municipal Planetarium in Hyogo Prefecture, said that while shooting stars brighter than Venus are generally known as bolides, it is rare for them to be so bright.

"We believe the last burst of light was as bright as the full moon," he said.

In July, a similarly bright shooting star was observed moving from southwest to northeast in the sky above Tokyo. It was later identified as a meteor after fragments were found in neighboring Chiba Prefecture.

The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan has said several fireballs are observed every month on average, but it is rare for people to hear anything.

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