Re-entry of Chinese rocket debris into the atmosphere causes meteor shower over Spain

In the early hours of June 20-21, people from all over Spain saw a curious phenomenon tearing the sky. A multitude of fireballs of different sizes fell from the sky, drawing a spectacular scene. There was no warning of a meteor shower, comets or anything like that, so all kinds of doubts arose, some of the most conspiranoid. But it was nothing supernatural, but the remains of a Chinese rocket during its re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

Specifically, it was the Chang Zheng 2F (CZ-2F) rocket, launched by the Chinese Space Agency (CNSA) on June 5 as part of the Shenzou 14 mission. Everything went well and its objective of carrying 3 astronauts to their recently launched space station was achieved. It was then contemplated that the Chinese rocket stages would return to Earth, but it was not known exactly where or how.

The phenomenon was captured by the cameras of the SMART project of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía. The re-entry of the Chinese rocket occurred over the Atlantic and the row of fireballs extinguished over the Mediterranean, about 100 kilometers from the Spanish coast. In short, it was nothing dangerous, but it offered a nice show for those who were lucky enough to be looking at the sky at that moment.

The cameras of the SMART project, which is dedicated precisely to the study of fireballs and meteors in southwestern Europe, locate the phenomenon caused by the Chinese rocket advancing in a northeasterly direction, from the Mediterranean. Then they arrived in Spain, just 10 kilometers from the coast of Almeria. In total, everything happened in about two minutes, approximately between 00:30 and 00:32 Spanish peninsular time.

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