How China was behind 'meteor' spotted over Queensland

Brianne Tolj
·2-min read

A fireball seen shooting through the air in Queensland last night may have in fact been a piece of a Chinese rocket, according to claims.

The bright light, which some people on social media mistook as a meteor, was spotted on Thursday night between Bundaberg and Hervey Bay.

Despite the excitement online, Dr Eleanor Sansom with the Curtin Space Science and Technology Centre told 7News the object is “different to a usual meteor”.

“There’s lots of different bits breaking off, (which is) not normal for natural objects,” she said, adding that it was only travelling 11kms a second, while meteors travel up at at least 30kms a second.

A Long March-3B carrier rocket, carrying the final satellite in the BeiDou-3 Navigation Satellite System, launches from a facility in Xichang. Source: AAP
A fireball seen shooting through the air in Queensland last night may have in fact been a piece of a Chinese rocket. Source: AAP

She said it was likely a piece of debris from a Chinese rocket called the Chinese Long March 3B, which was coming down the same time the fireball was seen.

Dr Sansom said the carrier rocket would have burned up around 100km above earth.

Online meteor watch groups have also agreed with her explanation, saying the rocket was predicted to reenter the atmosphere in Australia on Thursday night.

Queenslanders posted videos and comments about the fireball.

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“Didn’t see that but I heard two loud muffled bangs here at Boonooroo,” one woman wrote.

“Yep, looked awesome,” a man said.

“Wasn’t it amazing, never seen anything like it before!” a woman said.

“Did anyone else see this in the sky just now? Pretty sure it was a meteorite shower? That was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen!” another woman posted alongside a video.

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