FACT CHECK: No, This Footage Does Not Show China’s ‘Artificial Sun’ Being Launched
A video shared on TikTok purportedly shows the launch of an “artificial sun” by China.
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The footage actually appears to show a rocket launch in the U.S.
In the TikTok video, which has received over 32,000 likes since it was posted Sept. 16, a bright object can be seen flying upward after spectators cheer from across a body of water. Text in the video identifies the footage as showing the “moment China launched the artificial sun, as night turned to day.” The footage has been shared on Facebook alongside similar claims.
The Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) in Hefei, China, was created to mimic a star’s nuclear fusion and has been referred to as an “artificial sun,” according to India Today. In May of this year, the EAST, which has been active since 2006, maintained temperatures of 160 million degrees Celsius for 20 seconds and 120 million degrees Celsius for 101 seconds, setting a new world record, Nuclear Engineering International reported.
Check Your Fact was unable to determine the original source of the video, but versions of it were shared in an April 25 Imgur post and an April 26 tweet with captions connecting it to a SpaceX rocket launch. The launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Crew Dragon Endeavor capsule and Crew-2 astronauts took place on April 23 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, according to a NASA press release. People gathered on an opposite shore from the Crew 2 mission’s launch site to watch it lift off on April 23, as seen in footage aired by Orlando CBS affiliate News 6, just as the TikTok video shows spectators doing.
The mission control announcer’s voice in NASA’s YouTube livestream of that launch sounds strikingly similar to the one heard over a speaker in the TikTok video. (RELATED: Do Neil Armstrong’s Space Boots Not Match A Footprint He Left On The Moon?)
Furthermore, there is no indication the launch in the video took place in China or involved the EAST. In the TikTok video, various people can be heard counting down in English with American accents before the rocket rises into the sky, further indicating that it was filmed in the U.S. Photos of the EAST published by Getty Images demonstrate that it is very large and located indoors.