Meteor shower or Chinese rocket reentry? Maharashtra witnesses unusal streak of light

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Maharashtra residents witnessed an unusual event on Sunday as a blazing streak of lights pierced through the sky during the night. While many people described the sighting as a “meteor shower,” astronomer Jonathan McDowell speculated that the celestial event seen over Maharashtra was actually the “re-entry of a Chinese rocket stage” that was launched in February 2021.

“I believe this is the reentry of a Chinese rocket stage, the third stage of the Chang Zheng 3B serial number Y77 which was launched in Feb 2021 – it was expected to reenter in the next hour or so and the track is a good match,” he said.

Businessman Harsh Goenka also shared a brief video of the rare event on Twitter. Goenka wrote, “Meteor showers seen in parts of Maharashtra a little earlier”.

Suresh Chopade, president of Skywatch group, Nagpur, said he had been observing space-related events for the past 25 years and it seems like the event was related to a satellite.

“It seems like a satellite of some nation might have fallen accidentally or may have been caused to fall intentionally. It does not seem like a meteor shower or fireball,” he said.

He said it could be parts of a meteorite but the colours indicated that “a metallic thing” has accompanied it while coming towards earth.

The Tehsildar of Yeola, Pramod Hile, said an “ulkapat” (meteorite) was visible in the sky at around 8 pm.

“I saw it myself. It was split into four parts. No damage has been caused and there is nothing to fear,” he said.

Many people shared the visuals of the meteor shower on Twitter.

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