[imagesource: Facebook / Byron ‘Beez’ Robert Meugens]
Witnessing a meteor shower is pretty special.
I did once, back in the days before camera phones, so I can relate to the sheer joy and wonderment felt by those who witnessed Saturday’s nighttime show across parts of KwaZulu-Natal.
Sightings in Durban and surrounding areas lit up social media with people talking about meteor showers and comets and even Santa arriving early.
There was even a quip about it being “rich politicians escaping SA with the looted money”.
Why would they need to escape? It’s not like there will be legal repercussions for the crime.
Anyway, here’s a snapshot of what was shared:
Did anyone see this flying over Durban in the sky a few minutes ago. Is it an Asteroid, comet or some space debris close to earth? Wow. Traveling super fast! And huge!
Video by my son. pic.twitter.com/GWdBB8uyi1
— Marc Forrest (iguy.eth) (@MarcForrest) December 11, 2021
— Jozifire (@Jozifire) December 12, 2021
Meteor shower like I have never before seen…..amazing..video is only half as good as it was in reality…. pic.twitter.com/31F58qtgpe
— Stephen Ireland (@StephenIreland4) December 11, 2021
Anyone else see the insane Meteor shower over Durban? Started filming 5sec in so only caught the tail end. 10+ clear fireballs. Never seen anything like this before. KZN, South Africa. #meteorshower pic.twitter.com/m7JEDcFqAx
— Nick Allen (@NicKAllen6) December 11, 2021
The visuals were epic but the actual explanation is a little less otherworldly, reports TimesLIVE:
Tim Cooper, the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa’s meteorite and near space specialist, said the sighting wasn’t a meteorite but merely debris from a rocket.
“Regarding the bright lights seen last night around 8.30pm, this was probably the re-entry of the SL-4 rocket booster from the Roscosmos Soyuz 2.1a rocket which launched the latest cosmonauts to the ISS [International Space Station] on December 11. The lights had nothing to do with a comet, asteroid, meteor stream or the Geminids as posted variously elsewhere.”
One-time eNCA meteorologist and current CNN employee Derek Van Dam had earlier said it might be debris from SpaceX.
Bonus points for the running commentary:
👀 Did you see this? Residents of Kokstad, #SouthAfrica were stunned by a spectacular nighttime show yesterday. This disconcerting display of streaking light was likely @SpaceX Rocket debris burning up upon re-entry into earth’s atmosphere 🎥: Megan Dorning @News24 @eNCA @CNN pic.twitter.com/i6UT5LCbU1
— Derek Van Dam (@VanDamCNN) December 12, 2021
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