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This Streak of Light Across the Sky Has Germans Baffled

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"The phenomenon lasted much longer than a typical shooting star."

It lit up the night sky in Germany on Christmas Eve. And now there's rampant speculation, even debate, about what exactly the streak of light was.

Videos of the streak of light were captured across Germany, but also in France and Belgium.

"The leading edge of the streak appears round and white, while the tail trailing it has an orange tone in some images," CBC News in Canada reports.

Deutche Welle has more details:

At about 5:30 p.m. local time on Christmas Eve, witnesses in Germany said they saw three spots moving across the horizon trailing streaks of light behind them. The phenomenon lasted much longer than a typical shooting star.

Here's what observers saw:

Now there seems to be disagreement about what the light was. The German Aerospace Center declared the cause to be a simple meteor.

"Every year 200 tonnes of material falls to Earth. Sometimes it's a big chunk," spokesperson Andreas Schutz told a local paper.

But that's in direct contradiction to what the Royal Observatory of Belgium claims. According to it, the streak was the work of a Soyuz rocket that launched on Wednesday and delivered three astronauts to the International Space Station two days later. What observers saw, it says, is the rocket's reentry.

But a different witness may have nailed it: "We saw the light spectacle on the way home from church. Our daughter thought it was Santa Claus' coach with a moose."

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