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‘Fireball’ Sightings in Japan Posted on Social Media

Courtesy of a reader
An object glows in the sky in this photo taken around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in Amami, Kagoshima Prefecture.

Many people posted on social media that they saw a fireball-like light moving in the sky over the southern islands of Japan on Wednesday night. It appears to have been a rocket launched by China last year, according to an expert.

The light was witnessed by many people around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, moving slowly over a wide area of the sky over Okinawa and Kagoshima prefectures. Sightings were posted from various areas, including Nago and Itoman in Okinawa Prefecture and Amami in Kagoshima Prefecture.

“I was so surprised — I thought it was from outer space!” said a 17-year-old high school student in Amami. She shot a video of the object from a street in her home city. “A red strip of something fell down over a period of about 10 seconds and disappeared toward the mountains. I was so scared that it might fall right in front of me.”

Daichi Fujii, curator of astronomy at the Hiratsuka City Museum in Kanagawa Prefecture, speculated that it may have been a Chinese rocket after he analyzed videos posted on social media.

“It isn’t a meteorite or any other natural object because it flew very slowly and for a long period of time,” said Fujii. “Judging from the predicted trajectories of artificial celestial objects released by private companies, the object appears to be a rocket launched by China carrying a communications satellite in November last year.”

※The following video is provided by a witness.