July 11, 2014 11:42 am

WATCH: Soyuz rocket fireball lights up Australian night sky

WATCH ABOVE: People look on in awe as a fireball streaks across the sky in eastern Australia.

TORONTO – People across parts of eastern Australia got a treat Thursday night when part of a Soyuz rocket lit up the sky.

As a rocket soars into the sky, parts of it are discarded to lighten the load.

The Soyuz rocket – launched on July 8 – was used to launch a weather satellite into Earth-orbit. Reports suggest that it was the third stage of the rocket that was seen burning up.

WATCH: Another view of the debris burning up over eastern Australia

Social media sites lit up around 10 p.m. local time, with reports spanning from Sydney to Melbourne.

The re-entry wasn’t a surprise – the U.S. Strategic Command tracks all satellites around Earth through its Joint Space Operations Center. This stage of the rocket was expected to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere, but the exact location and time were unknown.

Typically, as large pieces of debris enter Earth’s atmosphere, they burn up. Most often, however, they occur over the ocean.

There have been no reports of debris reaching the ground.

Global News

© Shaw Media, 2014

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