Debris from Chinese rocket fell on Earth, lighting up night sky: Watch video

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The night sky of south and southeast Asia lit up with fiery streaks of the debris of a Chinese rocket falling off from space. A Twitter user posted a video of glowing streaks of light, flying across the sky over Kuching in Malaysia claiming it to be a meteor.

Later it was found that the streaks that lit- up the skies of southeast Asia were actually the debris of the Chinese rocket Long March 5B. The Twitter user mentioned the same in the tweet thread.

“meteor spotted in kuching! #jalanbako 31/7/2022,” said Nazri Sulaiman (@nazriacai) on Twitter, although he later corrected himself to say that it was the remains of the Long March rocket. The tweet has already attracted 59.900 likes.

Watch the video here

US space agency NASA clarified that 22.5 tonne core stage of the Long March 5B rocket re-entered Earth’s atmosphere over the Indian Ocean at approximately 12.45am on Sunday.

The dramatic event was spotted by many people in Sarawak, with videos being uploaded to social media from users from Sibu, Bintulu, Kuching cities in Malaysia. Many did not realise what they were witnessing.

The video from Kuching implies it was high in the atmosphere at that time — any debris would land hundreds of km further along track, near Sibu, Bintulu or even Brunei.” mentioned Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist and satellite tracker from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

“It’s ‘unlikely but not impossible’ that one or more chunks hit a population centre,” he said in a series of tweets.

About China’s Long March 5B rocket

The Long March 5B rocket launched off on 24 July to deliver a laboratory module to the new Chinese space station under construction in orbit.

It’s China’s third flight of its most powerful rocket since its maiden launch in 2020.

Where will the debris fall?

Based on the Malaysian Space Agency (MYSA)’s latest update, some of the smaller debris ended up around the Sulu Sea. MYSA explained in a statement that the location of the debris re-entry can’t be predicted accurately until a few hours prior to re-entry.

MYSA added that most of the debris (about 70% of it was water) would be burnt during re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere while smaller fragments would land on Earth.

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Paurush Omar

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