Rocket debris, not meteor, caused Northwest fireball in sky, scientists say

KENNEWICK, Wash. — A group of fireballs seen streaking across the Pacific Northwest sky on Thursday night appear to have been the result of a rocket part breaking apart and burning in the atmosphere.

“While we await further confirmation on the details, here’s the unofficial information we have so far. The widely reported bright objects in the sky were the debris from a Falcon 9 rocket 2nd stage that did not successfully have a deorbit burn,” the National Weather Service in Seattle tweeted. “Based on the observed video, this looks more likely than a bolide meteor or similar object as they would be moving far faster on impact with our atmosphere. There are NO expected impacts on the ground in our region at this time. More info will be posted as it becomes available.”

A popular astronomer at the Center for Astrophysics tweeted his observations.

Here are some details and video of that March 4 SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch and Starlink satellite delivery.

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