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Experts do not rule out that the fireball that was seen in Florida is space junk.
U.S. Conspiracy theorists flocked to social networks in a wave of excitement on Wednesday after a mysterious flying object resembled an orange fireball pierced by the Florida sky.
The American Meteor Society reported two dozen sightings from Jacksonville to Key West after midnight and tweeted that “there is still no real explanation.”
Even the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office joined the fun after receiving reports about the mysterious lights, posting on social media that “the Martians did not invade us last night, but we appreciate the level of confidence they have in us to stop to the intergalactic invaders”.
— AMSMETEORS (@amsmeteors) July 3, 2019
Astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell at the Center for Astrophysics has a more logical explanation for unusual flashes of light, with a not-so-glamorous ending. He said they were just pieces of a Chinese rocket when he re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere.
Launched in January, the rocket weighed more than two tons and was approximately 30 feet (9 meters) long. He said he helped put into orbit a Chinese military communication satellite, and like most space junk, it was being tracked as it circled the plane.
The time and location of videos posted on social networks facilitated comparison with orbital data on what wastes were scheduled for re-entry at that time.
McDowell said reentries like this one are pretty common and occur about once a month, but they do not happen “at night in the United States where a lot of people see it, so that’s what was unusual.”
A person who called 911 was breathless that it was the biggest thing he had seen in the sky, and he told the operator that he was leaving a donut store in Lantana when he saw the fireball separated into two parts in a burst of flames and flashes.
“I do not know if it was a plane crash, a comet or a shooting star or something, but something came out of the sky in a ball of fire,” the unidentified man said in a call provided by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.