— Vic Storm Chasers (@VicStormChasers) May 22, 2020
— Lily Langham (@lumpylangham) May 22, 2020
— Tom Toose (@ttoose) May 22, 2020
— James (@centralvicjames) May 22, 2020
I literarly saw the biggest meteor in my life pic.twitter.com/sHFp3Ztw3A
— Nocturnal Astro (@NocturnalAstro) May 22, 2020
But experts have weighed in and it appears the light — which lasted more than 20 seconds — was from Russian space junk re-entering the atmosphere.
The Astronomical Society of Victoria said the object was the third stage of a rocket used to launch a Russian satellite.
Jonti Hunter, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Southern Queensland, told the ABC the object was identifiable as space junk because of its slow speed.
“The slow speed, about 6 kilometres per second, is a very telltale sign that it is space junk,” he said.
⏰：0700-0900 UTC / 3-5am EDT / 16-18 JST
— NextLaunch (@Nextlaunch) May 22, 2020
Star-gazers reported seeing the object pass through the atmosphere across parts of central Victoria and as far south as Tasmania.