Possible Meteor Shower or Rocket Re-Entry Seen Over Skies of India

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Mumbai: On Saturday, the people of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh were amazed to see a bright streak of light cutting through the sky in what appeared to be meteor showers.

According to footage released by ANI, a thick flash of light appeared over the skies of Nagpur in Maharashtra and Jhabua, Barwani districts in Madhya Pradesh. The sightings are being speculated as an unusual event of a meteor shower. 

Netizens from Ahmedabad also said a bright streak of light was seen in the sky.

Shashank Gattewar, who lives in Manish Nagar, Nagpur, shot the scene with his mobile. He said he suddenly saw some light in the sky, “where one after the other several spheres” were coming in the direction of the earth from the sky.

Another person said that they saw the blaze for two minutes and later the light disappeared. “We saw these balls going towards Aurangabad,” he said.

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.

Meteors often referred to as “shooting stars”, are rocky objects that enter the earth’s atmosphere at a tremendous speed, between 30 and 60 km per second. This high-speed journey produces a shower of light streaks called a meteor shower.

However, some experts believe that it might not be a meteor shower but the re-entry of a rocket.

Astronomer Jonathan McDowell said that the sightings over Maharashtra could be the “re-entry of a Chinese rocket stage” that was launched in February 2021.

“I believe this is the re-entry- 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,” McDowell, who is an astronomer at the Center for Astrophysics, said.

Another scientist Suresh Chopade, president of Skywatch group, said the rare event could be related to a satellite. Chopade did not rule out the possibility of a meteor shower, however, he added that the colours indicated that “a metallic thing” has accompanied it while coming towards earth.

“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,” Chopade said.

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