Satellite’s flashy finale
The bright ‘‘shooting star’’ which tore across New Zealand’s sky recently had stargazers excited and stumped. People were asking: was it a meteor, a plane, or perhaps space junk that lit up the night sky last Saturday? Well, Russia has solved the mystery after confirming it was one of its satellites burning up as it re-entered Earth’s atmosphere. Russia’s Aerospace Forces told The Guardian the Kosmos 2430 early warning satellite, which is designed to detect intercontinental ballistic missile launches, was guided out of orbit as part of a planned operation. ‘‘The satellite burned up completely in the dense atmosphere above the Atlantic Ocean at a height of around 100km,’’ Aerospace Forces said. It added that its re-entry was under control at all times, and that the early warning satellite, launched in 2007, had been non-operational since 2012.