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    Mysterious object in Florida skies

    Fireball Spotted in Florida Sky Likely Debris From Chinese Satellite (Videos, Photo)

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    The mysterious fireball that streaked across the skies above South Florida on Wednesday, prompting speculation from many residents, was likely caused by parts of a Chinese rocket as they re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere, according to astrophysicists.

    According to the American Meteor Society (AMS), at least two dozen sightings from Jacksonville to Key West were reported Wednesday by local residents, who described the object as a bright orange streak. However, AMS said “there’s no real explanation yet,” while the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office joined in on the conversation by tweeting, “No, we were not invaded last night by Martians but we appreciate the level of confidence you have of us to stop intergalactic invaders.”

    ​However, astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said that the unusual fireball was nothing more than pieces of a Chinese military communication satellite in orbit. 

    "The stuff is moving slowly. It's breaking up into multiple pieces. It's sort of a classic space debris break-up," McDowell told the Associated Press. 

    ​The Chinese rocket which McDowell believes was the source of the debris was launched in January. It weighs more than two tons and is approximately 30 feet long.

    ​According to the Center for Astrophysics, the time at which videos and photos of the mysterious object were shared on social media coincides with the time the rocket was expected to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere. 

    In fact, such re-entries are common, McDowell noted. However, they don’t usually take place “at night over the United States where lots of people see it.”

    “So that’s what was unusual,” McDowell added.

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    rocket, China, flying object, object, UFO
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