The night sky of South and Southeast Asia was lighted up by blazing streaks of debris from a Chinese rocket that had fallen from space.
A Twitter user claimed to have captured a video of blazing lines of light travelling across the sky over Kuching, Malaysia and claimed it was a meteor. Though he later clarified that it was the debris of the Long March rocket.
NASA confirmed that the Long March 5B rocket’s 22.5-ton core stage re-entered Earth’s atmosphere over the Indian Ocean at approximately 12.45 a.m. on Sunday.
Many individuals in Sarawak witnessed the startling episode, with videos shared on social media from users in Malaysia’s Sibu, Bintulu, and Kuching cities.
The video from Kuching suggests that it was high in the atmosphere at the time — any debris would land hundreds of kilometres along the track, near Sibu, Bintulu, or even Brunei,” said Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist and satellite tracker at 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.
According to the last few Malaysian Space Agency (MYSA) reports, some of the smaller debris ended up near the Sulu Sea. However, MYSA stated that the precise position of the debris re-entry cannot be determined until a few hours before re-entry.
MYSA also stated that most of the debris (about 70% of which was water) would be burned during re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, while smaller particles would settle on Earth.