On Christmas Eve, videos of a strange streak of light over Europe surfaced... it wasn't Santa's sleigh.
Saturday's sighting is believed to have been the reentering third stage of a Russian Soyuz rocket.
The rocket successfully delivered three astronauts to the space station -- they docked on Friday.
Also on Friday, debris from another (unmanned) Soyuz rocket ironically hit a house on "Cosmonaut Street" in central Siberia.
A ball of light streaking across the night sky in northern Europe on Saturday at a time when many imagined that Santa Claus was doing his rounds was nothing more than Soyuz rocket debris, Belgian experts say.
"The fireball observed above Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Germany on December 24 around 17h30, was the re-entry of the third stage of the Soyuz rocket that transported the Dutch astronaut André Kuipers to the ISS," Belgium's Royal Observatory said Sunday.
Videos nearly 30 seconds long were posted on the Internet showing the ball of light trailing a long tail, seen at dusk Saturday in southern Belgium, northern France and many parts of Germany.
Astronomers concerned with unidentified flying objects at a center in Mannheim, southwestern Germany, were swamped with telephone calls, and they initially thought it was a meteorite.
The Belgian observatory solved the mystery on Sunday when it linked the sighting to the recent successful launch of three astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).
Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, NASA's Don Pettit and the European Space Agency's André Kuipers blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday. The trio docked with the ISS on Friday.
Unfortunately, also on Friday, an unmanned Russian rocket launch resulted in failure.
The Soyuz-2 rocket was carrying a military communications satellite before it crashed into Siberia minutes after launch.
Its fragments crashed into the Novosibirsk region of central Siberia and were found in the Ordynsk district around 60 miles south of the regional capital Novosibirsk.
"A sphere was found, around 50 centimeters (20 inches) in diameter, which crashed into the roof of a house in the village of Vagaitsevo" in the Ordynsk district, an official in the local security services told the Interfax news agency.
In an extraordinary irony, the official said that the house was located on Cosmonaut Street, named after the heroic spacemen of the Soviet and Russian space program.