A streak of light in the night sky over much of the Pacific Northwest on Thursday sparked speculation among people on earth. It turned out that its origin was apparently very terrestrial: space debris getting back into the atmosphere.
As CBS Portland, Oregon subsidiary KOIN-TV said, “Was that a meteor? Space debris? Aliens? Probably not. … Whatever it was, it lit up the night sky over Oregon just after 9 p.m. … and gasped and lots of posts on social media.
“The sight was summed up by @kaallori:” Meteor? I don’t know what that was, but it was spectacular. ‘”
KIRO-TV, a subsidiary of CBS Seattle, said it was initially a meteor shower.
But KIRO’s chief meteorologist, Morgan Palmer, said, “The relatively slow speed of separation seems to me likely to be a satellite, a rocket part, a space junk, something like re-entry breaking up. Something that was in orbit. Meteors would generally move. ” much faster than they burn. But we will see! “
Andrew Dassonville, @theandrewda, captured it from St. Helens, Oregon, near Portland:
The viewers called KIRO to report what they saw. They also called the National Weather Service.
Then the Seattle service office tweeted the likely explanation, saying, “While we await further confirmation of the details, here is the unofficial information we have so far. The widespread bright objects in the sky were the debris of a 2nd level the Falcon 9 missile that did not successfully deorbit. “
Astronomer Jonathan McDowell tweeted it was from one.
Jim Todd of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland told KOIN it was pretty exciting that so many people discovered it. “Everyone in the Pacific Northwest saw it,” he said.
He’s not sure if any of the debris has hit the ground. “Could there be rubble? Sure. But it burned.”
KIRO reported that weather officials said they had heard of no impact in west Washington.