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'UFO' spotted in sky over Kent and south of England turns out to be Landsat launch rocket


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A "strange" UFO spotted in the skies over the south of England has turned out to be a rocket.

Many Kent residents took to social media to share sightings of the unusual flying object this evening - describing it as a "giant silent light".

A video of the strange sight taken in Margate at about 10.15pm (Video: Jade Carley)

One woman described spotting it over Margate at about 10.20pm, before rushing to tell her disbelieving boyfriend.

"I even drew a picture trying to explain it," she said. "It was HUGE. It can't have been a helicopter as it made no sound. The only way to describe it, is it was like a gigantic torch."

Another woman said: "Saw this, very weird, slow moving and silent!"

Some theorised it could be a meteor, while others joked it could be aliens on the look-out for coveted petrol.

But it is believed to have been a rocket re-entering the atmosphere, after launching a satellite into space.

The Atlas V rocket was launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California as part of NASA's Landsat programme - an "important earth science mission" that aims to shine a light on Earth's natural resources through high-quality imaging.

The rocket successfully delivered Landsat 9 observatory into orbit around Earth.

The light spotted over Kent is believed to have been caused by the rocket's "de-orbit burn" - a firing of its engines that enabled the craft to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere.

The rare sight was reportedly spotted elsewhere across the country, in areas including East Sussex, Essex, Shropshire, County Durham, and in other parts of the world.

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