Falling object in Palawan may be meteor

Jose Rodel Clapano - The Philippine Star

Not China rocket debris, says PhilSA

MANILA, Philippines — The unidentified object that fell in Palawan over the weekend may be a meteor, according to the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA).

“Based on publicly available information, which includes CCTV (closed-circuit television) footage, the phenomenon could have been caused by a meteor as it enters the atmosphere,” PhilSA said in a statement issued yesterday.

The agency noted that small meteors completely disintegrate in the atmosphere.

“Larger meteors, on the other hand, may survive the atmosphere and eventually hit the ground and produce a loud booming sound. Recovered pieces of these meteors are called meteorites,” PhilSA said.

However, PhilSA noted that these occurrences are rare.

“Although there have been records of meteorites landing in the Philippines, as of press time, PhilSA has not received any report of meteorites being sighted or recovered,“ it said.

PhilSA said it received clarification inquiries on the sighting of an unidentified falling object followed by an explosion in Bataraza and Rizal towns at around 7 p.m. on Saturday.

It said the incident was ”highly unlikely” to be related to the Long March 7A and the Long March 3B rockets that China launched.

The Long March 7A rocket was launched on Monday.

PhilSA also noted that the unburned debris from the Long March 3B rocket, launched on Dec. 29 fell in the drop zone area near Palawan.

It said the reported sighting and explosion were unlikely to be related to any orbital debris re-entry.

“Based on available predictions and tracks of space objects returning from space, no orbital debris re-entered the atmosphere near the Philippines around the reported time of the sighting and supposed explosion,” PhilSA said.

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