Although the video was authentic and indeed recorded in Kazakhstan, it did not show an unidentified foreign object. Rather, the spaceship-looking object was an illusion created by light from Soyuz MS-22, a Russian spaceflight to the International Space Station that launched on Sept. 21, 2022. For those reasons, we rated this claim "Miscaptioned."
The video was taken in Balkhash, a city south of Kazakh Uplands, according to a cross-reference of elements in the video with Google Maps.
Based on our research, the oldest social media post with the in-question video was published on Sept. 25, 2022, four days after the launch. Users continued reposting the video the following month.
While it was unclear when, exactly, the footage was recorded, it likely depicted the immediate aftermath of Soyuz MS-22'slaunch, considering the date the video first surfaced online (Sept. 25) and its filming location. Social media users shared similar videos seemingly documenting the same scene, though from different angles, on Sept. 21, the date of the launch.
On that day, as the capsule left Earth and orbited relatively close to it, similar videos of the spaceflight were recorded in various cities and shared by numerous Kazakh news websites.
Moreover, Yandex image-search results uncovered many photographs of a similarscene — a balloon-shaped light hovering over a city or residential landscape — on other occasions.
Those strange halos in the sky, visible both in the pictures above and the video in question, are likely a combination of a condensation trail and so-called twilight phenomenon that occurs when certain aircraft hover above Earth. The first term, according to the American Meteorological Society, refers to cloud-like streamers that form behind aircraft flying in clear, cold, and humid air, and the twilight phenomenon describes a visual effect caused by unspent fuel freezing in high altitudes.
The video in question was previously mis-captioned as a video taken moments before the February 2023 earthquake in Turkey.
Videos falsely claiming to show UFOs or aliens are an ever-present phenomenon on social media. For instance, in 2017, a SpaceX rocket was mistaken for extraterrestrials in the sky, and, in mid-September 2020, we fact-checked videos that circulated on TikTok supposedly showing a UFO flying over New Jersey. In that case, the aircraft was an inflated Goodyear Blimp.
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