Chinese rocket debris lights up the night sky, videos go viral

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Thousands of people in East and Southeast Asia witnessed the alluring spectacle in the night sky.

New Delhi:

Many people took to social media on Saturday to share videos of meteor showers. Videos show stunning hues of red, blue and yellow blazing across the night sky as onlookers pull out cameras to capture the moment.

But in fact, the fireworks were burning debris from a Chinese rocket that re-entered Earth’s atmosphere over the Indian Ocean.

“USSPACECOM can confirm that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) Long March 5B (CZ-5B) re-entered over the Indian Ocean at approximately 10:45 a.m. MDT on 7/30. We refer you to the PRC for more details on the technical aspects of re-entry such as potential debris dispersion + impact location,” US Space Command tweeted.

Thousands of people in East and Southeast Asia witnessed the alluring spectacle in the night sky. While many shared clips thought it was a meteor shower, astronauts and scientists were quick to dispel it and set the record straight.

“Looks like this Chinese rocket just burned up over Malaysia. Now wait to hear what big chunks splashed/hit the Earth,” NASA astronaut Chris Hadfield tweeted.

According to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA), China launched the 23-ton Long March-5B Y3 carrier rocket on July 24.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson has strongly criticized China for not manipulating its rockets to return to earth safely.

“All space nations should follow established best practices and do their part to share this type of information in advance,” Nelson tweeted, “to enable reliable predictions of potential debris impact risk, particularly for heavy vehicles, like the Long March 5B., which carry a significant risk of loss of life and property.”

“This is essential for the responsible use of space and for keeping people safe here on Earth,” he added.

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