what was this strange glow seen in the French sky on Thursday evening?

Some believed in a UFO. An intense luminous point preceded by a plume in ascending phase was observed in the sky at the beginning of the night, around 10 p.m., Thursday April 21, in France, according to several photos and videos relayed on social networks. Intrigued Internet users relayed the same scene, filmed since Roubaix (North), Le Mans (Sarthe), Arzal (Loire Atlantique), Meudon (Hauts-de-Seine) or even Lyons.

Three days before the second round of the presidential election, Internet user saw it “Mélenchon holograms returning to their planet”. “I hope they come to recover Macron”joked another.

The origin of this luminous phenomenon is less surprising: “It’s a SpaceX rocket”advanced the president of the French Society of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Eric Lagadec, in the evening. “It’s a Falcon 9”he then certified, on Friday.

A version confirmed by the specialized site Frontera Space (in Spanish)after this glow was observed in Spain. “The second stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket has been spotted in the skies over Madrid, he reported. The ‘cloud’ was actually gases emitted by engine braking to knock the object out of orbit.” This de-orbiting of the second stage has the function of causing the disintegration of the launcher in the atmosphere, to prevent it from becoming space waste.

The SpaceX company launched such a rocket on Thursday to place 53 Starlink satellites, criticized for their light pollution, in orbit. The takeoff took place at 7:51 p.m. Paris time from Florida.

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