Space junk from rocket launch illuminates Australia’s night sky

A huge fireball appeared over Australia on Thursday night local time, prompting many witnesses to believe they were witnessing a meteorite entering the Earth’s atmosphere,media BGR reported. Careful observation by experts, the object is believed to be one of the piles of space junk left behind by a Russian rocket launch earlier in the day.

Space junk from rocket launch illuminates Australia's night sky

For Australians in parts of mainland Australia, Thursday night brought a “cosmic light show.” Multiple reports from Victoria to Tasmania say a meteorite can be seen “galloping through the sky”, leaving a long, bright tail as it burns in the Earth’s atmosphere. Eyewitnesses believe they saw a large space rock. But it could just be a pile of space junk left behind by a Russian rocket launch.

As Gizmodo points out, the best guess Australians see in the sky on Thursday night is some new space junk, which was launched earlier in the day. Roscosmos launched a Soyuz rocket, putting a military satellite into orbit, and more likely, the huge, burning object we saw in the video was a rocket-stage object that stayed in orbit for a short time and then fell down again.

In an interview with The Guardian Australia, Perry Vlahos of the Victorian Astronomical Society confidently stated that the object was not naturally formed. “It moves slowly, has a shallower angle, and has a degree of disintegrating, indicating that it is not an alien spacecraft, a meteor or a comet. It was a Russian rocket that launched a satellite around 5:30 p.m. today. So the burned-out rocket stage has re-entered the atmosphere. “