Satellite mistaken for meteorite crashes across sky above New Zealand

  08 January 2019    Read: 1538
Satellite mistaken for meteorite crashes across sky above New Zealand

New Zealand was abuzz with the possibility it had been visited by a stray meteor or even aliens when people saw a bright light streaking across the sky.

A bright light was spotted by skywatchers as it streaked down to the ground on Saturday evening, prompting fears that a UFO might have been landing in the north of the country.

But the real explanation is almost as shocking: it appears to have been a piece of defunct space junk dropping down to the ground.

Numerous experts suggest the photos and videos showed an old Russian satellite that probably burnt up as it made its way back down to Earth.

Ordinarily, such a sight would not be seen: space junk is engineered to drop into the spacecraft graveyard in the Pacific, where they pose no danger to people below. But the new object appears to have fallen down over New Zealand by accident, though it is unlikely anyone was hurt.

Experts suggested that the space junk could have been the remains of the Kosmos 2430 satellite, which was initially sent to space in 2007 to keep watch for missile launches. It had been floating around in space since then, until Russians lost control of it and waited for it to tumble back down to Earth.

If any of the large satellite did manage to survive the difficult journey through the Earth's atmosphere, then it's likely that it dropped into the sea. But experts have warned people not to touch any space objects that do happen to fall into their garden, since they can include toxic materials and can be harmful.

 

The Independent


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