Space junk is seen falling over the Sunshine Coast in Buddina, Queensland, Australia.(via REUTERS)
Space junk is seen falling over the Sunshine Coast in Buddina, Queensland, Australia.(via REUTERS)

Queensland skies light up as debris from Chinese rocket burns up in atmosphere

Professor Jonti Horner of the University of Southern Queensland's Centre for Astrophysics said the light show came from the re-entry of a Chinese rocket.
Reuters |
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 01:31 PM IST

Social media in Queensland, Australia lit up on Thursday night, matching the flashing night sky as users posted short videos of what experts later said was debris from a Chinese rocket burning up as it re-entered the Earth's atmosphere.

"I thought it was a meteorite at first, but later as it split, my mate and I began thinking it was space junk," said Jasper Nash, who filmed one of the videos circulating on social media. "It was very fascinating."

Space junk is seen falling over the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia on February 25, 2021.(via REUTERS)
Space junk is seen falling over the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia on February 25, 2021.(via REUTERS)

Professor Jonti Horner of the University of Southern Queensland's Centre for Astrophysics said the light show came from the re-entry of a Chinese rocket launched in November 2019, carrying a satellite into orbit.

Others with less expert knowledge were at first spooked by the display.

"I initially thought it was something other than space debris," said Jack Robins, another observer who took to social media to post video. "To be honest I freaked out for a second until I realised."

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