San Francisco | The National Weather Service (NWS) reported that an impressive light show that lit up the skies of the northwestern United States Thursday night was likely due to debris from a SpaceX rocket returning to the atmosphere.
“The bright, widely reported objects in the sky were debris from the second stage of the Falcon 9 missile,” the Seattle Weather Service wrote on Twitter, noting that more detailed data is expected to officially confirm this information.
Videos posted on social media show a dense array of bright spots and light corridors, slowly moving across the sky before disappearing, with some internet users claiming that this phenomenon could be a meteor shower or even, as a joke, an alien invasion.
According to local media, this phenomenon was noticed right after 9:00 PM, and videos were released from Washington and Oregon, both of which are located in the northwestern United States.
According to the Seattle National Weather Service, it is more likely to be caused by space debris than meteorites, which will move much faster.
“What people see is a missile that falls into the atmosphere at a speed of more than 27,000 km / h and shatters from the heat generated at that speed,” Jonathan McDowell of the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard University told AFP: The denser one is longer, giving the appearance of multiple glowing pieces going in the same direction. “
McDowell added, “This is a mistake, and this type of SpaceX missile usually performs an anti-absorption combustion process.”
De-combustion from orbit is a maneuver that involves operating the spacecraft’s propellers to slow it down and begin its descent into the atmosphere, where it decays in a controlled fashion.
“We knew it was going to crash yesterday or today, but we weren’t sure exactly when,” McDowell said, adding that “it takes a few hours for it to roam the world twice, so we had no idea in advance of where it would crash.”
No damage has been reported yet, and the Seattle Meteorological Service said the phenomenon is unlikely to cause an impact.