Tags: fireball | sky | australia | space junk

Fireball in Sky Over Australia Was Likely Space Junk, Experts Say

By    |   Friday, 11 July 2014 03:45 PM

A fireball in the Australian sky lit up the online world with questions, but experts believe it was space junk.

The streak of light appeared in the New South Wales sky about 10 p.m. Thursday, and numerous reports and photos surfaced shortly after.

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Although speculation may have led some toward more unique explanations, most thought it was a meteor at first. But a Melbourne Planetarium expert said it was space junk.

"What was really interesting about it was it was so bright and observers have reported being able to see it for more than 10 seconds or so," Dr. Tanya Hill told ABC News of the fireball. “That tells us that it was something probably more out of the ordinary than just a small meteor. This is ... what you would call an artificial meteor, caused by material we may well have sent up in space."

Reports of the bright, fiery object filtered into emergency personnel, who told ABC they received calls of an aircraft in trouble. A spokesperson for Airservices Australia told ABC several pilots saw it and described it as a “spectacular sight.”

Universe Today reported that satellite tracker Ted Molczan said the space junk was most likely from the Russian Soyuz 2-1B rocket booster that launched a meteorological satellite July 8. He based that observation on the timing and the way the flaming object looked.

The Sydney Observatory confirmed the fireball was space junk and tracked its trajectory through the night sky, and said it was travelling slower than the minimum speed of a meteor impact.

Photos and even video of the unusual airborne object quickly appeared online.

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A fireball in the Australian sky lit up the online world with questions, but experts believe it was space junk.
fireball, sky, australia, space junk
Friday, 11 July 2014 03:45 PM
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