On Saturday, several places in Gujarat, including Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Bharuch, and Panchmahal witnessed what seemed like a fireball in the skies. Amravati in Maharashtra also reported the trail blazer which looked like a cross between a meteor shower and a comet.
According to scientists, the “phenomenon” in most probability is “space debris.”
Astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Jonathan McDowell, while replying to a Tweet, posted: “I believe this is the re-entry of a Chinese rocket. The third stage of Chang Zheng 3B (serial number Y77) which was launched in Feb 2021. It was expected to re-enter in the next hour or so and the track is a good match.”
He answered a question by Twitter user
Talking about the fireball in the sky, physicist Dr Ashutosh Pandya explained: “It’s a clear case of an old satellite which has left its orbit. Whenever something like this happens, debris immediately burns in the atmosphere of the earth.” Dr Pandya quashed the popular theories which kept social media alive all through night, adding: “It certainly is not a UFO.”
NASA about Space Debris:
Debris usually burns up in the atmosphere, but larger objects can reach the ground intact. According to NASA, approximately one piece of debris has landed on Earth every day over the past 50 years.
The premiere space agency reports approximately 23,000 pieces of debris, larger than a softball, are currently orbiting Earth. They travel at speeds up to 17,500 mph, fast enough for a relatively small piece of orbital debris to damage a satellite or a spacecraft. There are half a million pieces of debris the size of a marble or larger (up to 0.4 inches, or 1 centimeter) or larger, and approximately 100 million pieces of debris-about .04 inches (or one millimeter) and larger. There is even smaller micrometer-sized (0.000039 of an inch in diameter) debris.
In 2007, China conducted an anti-satellite test that used missiles to destroy an old weather satellite. That test alone resulted in 3,500 pieces of large, trackable debris and much small debris.
According to its website, NASA has a set of long-standing guidelines that are used to assess whether the threat of such a close pass is sufficient to warrant evasive action or other precautions to ensure the safety of the International Space Station and its crew.