Fact Check: Viral Video Shows Chinese Rocket Launch, Not Artificial Sun

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Winter solstice sunrise alines with temples in Luxor, EgyptOn the winter solstice, the sun rises in near-perfect alignment with the ancient Avenue of the Sphinxes in Egypt.Associated Press, USA TODAY

The claim: Video shows China launching an artificial sun

Social media users are falsely claiming that a viral video shows an artificial sun being launched by China.

A Facebook video shared Jan. 10 shows a crowd of people with phones gathered near a beach filming what appears to be an orange bulb ascending in the air.

"Viral video with caption saying 'China has launched an artificial sun' making the rounds," reads the caption of the Facebook video.

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The clip generated over 8,500 views in less than three days. A recently deleted Instagram post featuring the same claim and video amassed over 100,000 likes. Variations of this clip have received over 1,000 likes on Instagram and over 50,000 likes on Twitter.

But the claim is false.

The viral video shows a rocket launch that occurred in December, as independent fact-checking organizations have noted

USA TODAY reached out to the social media user who shared the post for comment.

Video shows a rocket launch

USA TODAY was unable to find the original source of the clip. But several social media posts indicate the video circulated by the Facebook user shows the Long March 7A rocket launch in Wenchang, China, that took place Dec. 23.

A 50-minute, 14-second livestream of the rocket launch uploaded to YouTube reveals the same crowd of people gathered near the beach taken from several vantage points. The scenes are similar to the one in the viral clip.

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A Dec. 23 tweet also presents an identical video of spectators with their phones facing the orange streak in the sky, which was the same day of the Long March 7A rocket launch.

"The live observation of the rocket launch was extremely shocking," reads the caption, according to Google Translate

现场观摩火箭发射异常震撼 pic.twitter.com/PCQ1nc3lXV

— 屠波 (@turbo830130) December 23, 2021

The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. published an official clip of the Long March 7A launch, which shows the rocket right as it is about to blast off, with flames forming an orange bulb as seen in the viral videos.

Reuters reported that the beach in the viral clip matches the one in the coastal town of Longlou, which is home to the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site where the Long March 7A blasted off.

Visitors often gather along that beach to witness rocket launches, according to the China Global Television Network.

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The

  Long March 7A rocket successfully launched a pair of satellites into orbit, according to Space News

USA TODAY reached out to the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site for comment.

According to Smithsonian Magazine, the artificial sun is another name for China's nuclear fission reactor, called the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST). The heavy metal device recently reached temperatures "five times hotter than the sun." But it's located firmly on the ground.

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that a video shows China launching an artificial sun. The video shows the Long March 7A rocket launch near a coastal town in China.

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Source : https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2022/01/14/fact-check-video-does-not-show-china-launching-artificial-sun/9198022002/

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Fact check: Viral video shows Chinese rocket launch, not artificial sun

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