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SYFY WIRE Meteor Showers

The sky's not falling: Guam's mystery fireball linked to satellite test launch

By Jacob Oller
Guam fireball screenshot

Earth is not yet being invaded, nor are any great balls of fire being thrown at the planet from elsewhere in the galaxy — despite some footage out of Guam showing a disturbingly large and fiery unidentified flying object hurtling through the atmosphere. The bright tail initially led observers to call it a meteor — but that doesn't seem to be the case now that the UFO has become an identified flying object.

But first, the footage. A viral video, posted by Richard Camacho, showed off a large, slow-moving fireball that appeared to break up into multiple smaller particles as it fell over the Mariana Islands. Onlookers were naturally shocked to see such a spectacle.

*Warning: this video contains profane language*

Take a look:

BREAKING: Isang meteor o bulalakaw ang namataan sa kalangitan sa #Guam ngayong gabi ng mga residente doon pero hindi pa malinaw kung saan ito bumagsak. Video Courtesy: Richard I Q Camacho

Posted by Philippine Weather System/Pacific Storm Update on Thursday, April 9, 2020

So what is this, really? SYFY WIRE went to the source. The Offices of Guam Homeland Security and Civil Defense and the Mariana Regional Fusion Center explained that "in concert with federal partners," they determined that the object in question was "likely connected to a scheduled satellite test launch from China."

Citing the Chinese launch of the Palapa N1 communications satellite from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, which was scheduled on April 9 at 7:40 AM ET (around 9:40 PM in Guam's Chamorro Time Zone), the organizations said that the commercial space launch would correspond with the recent videos.

"Indeed there was quite a buzz overnight about the unidentified object," National Weather Service meteorologist Landon Aydlett told SYFY WIRE, and confirmed that the determination by the goverment "seems fairly conclusive at this time."

And don't worry, everything's fine. No flaming objects will be raining down and damaging anything anytime soon. "There was no direct threat assessed to the Marianas from the launch," the Offices of Guam Homeland Security and Civil Defense and the Mariana Regional Fusion Center said in a statement.