Night owls across Tasmania were treated to a stunning light show late Monday night.
Sightings of a blazing light trail and a resounding rumble were reported all over the North of the state from St Leonards to Lilydale to Westbury.
Some Launceston residents reported online they heard a "loud sound that vibrated their entire house," while others shared snaps of the spectacular sight.
"I thought it was an earthquake," one person said, while another said, "It was the most amazing thing I've seen".
Tasmanian astronomer Dr Martin George said he believed it was the result of space junk re-entering the Earth's atmosphere.
"What we think people saw and heard was the reentry of a piece of artificial space debris, in other words, not a natural piece but man-made - such as a rocket," Dr George said.
"We strongly suspect that it was one of the rocket stages from the launch of a Russian satellite, GLONASS, from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome that took place last night.
"I feel that the sound was a 'sonic boom' caused by the speed of re-entry of the rocket part.
"The GLONASS satellite navigation system is an alternative to the US's Global Positioning System (GPS).
"Although we can't be certain, all the information fits to suggest that that's indeed what it was."
Dr George said although pieces of space junk may have fallen on the land, he believes the majority ended up in the ocean.
"Generally, almost all of these rocket fragments would burn up completely in the atmosphere," he said.
"They get very hot, break apart, and are typically destroyed in this fiery reentry.
"It will be pretty rare for a piece to make it to the ground, much less for it to hit someone or hit a building.
"You'd have to be extremely unlucky to be struck."
Dr George said it's great that people are looking up into the sky.
"I'm always interested to hear what people have seen in the sky," he said.
"It's something we can all enjoy, especially with the cameras we have these days, people can easily record things and share them."
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