Space X Rocket Debris Causes Bright Light Streaking Across Northwestern U.S. Skies

Astronomers say the streaking light seen across the night sky on Thursday came from SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket reentering Earth’s atmosphere 22 days after its launch.

Across the Pacific Northwest region, a fiery ball of light could be seen streaked across the sky. Many assumed the light was a meteor, but astronomer Jonathan McDowell at the Center for Astrophysics explained on Twitter that the light was actually a result of the Falcon 9 rocket launched by SpaceX on March 4.

McDowell tweeted that the rocket had “failed to make a deorbit burn,” and that was what people were witnessing around 9 p.m. Thursday, the rocket reentering the Earth’s atmosphere 22 days after being in orbit.

“We have been getting a number of calls about this! This looks like what we have seen in all of your friends. Not official, but this fits the bill.”

Dr. James Davenport, Research Assistant Professor of Astronomy at the University of Washington confirmed to KING 5 that the light was caused by the rocket falling back down from orbit. He also said the debris were about 30 miles into the atmosphere and that it was therefore unlikely that any substantial pieces of the rocket would reach the ground.

People reported seeing flashing lights all across the Pacific Northwest, including the Oregon Coast, Salem, the Portland metro area, Southwest Washington and the Seattle area. Some people even reported hearing explosions in the sky.


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