IF you looked up in the clear night sky just after midnight on Monday night you may have spotted a string of fireballs streaking across the horizon.

The sight sparked panic with hundreds of calls made to emergency number 112 reporting the phenomenon.

But these were not UFOs nor meteorites plummeting to earth but the remnants of a rocket launched from China two weeks ago.

Clearest in Andalucia, the fire balls were still visible further north in Madrid, Toledo and even as far north as Valladolid.

The website Frontera Espacial explained that the lights were caused  by the reentry of  the top part of the Chinese rocket CZ-2F that was launched by the Chinese Space Agency (CNSA) on June 5 as part of the Shenzhou 14 mission.  

José María Madiedo, of the Andalusian Institute of Astrophysics said the string of white lights were caused when the rocket debris broke into multiple fragments that lit up as they reenter the earth’s atmosphere, with each tiny fragment creating a fireball.

The SMART project tracked the activity identifying the re-entry point over the Atlantic, off the coast of Morocco. 

The debris then moved north-east passing over Tetuan in Morocco over Spain’s north African enclave of Ceuta and across the Mediterranean passing just 10km from the coast of Almeria.

The lights finally went out over the Med about halfway between the coast of Murcia and Algeria.


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