Dazzling display in the sky as rocket debris burns above Pacific Northwest

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A mysterious streak that lit up the Pacific Northwest night sky Thursday is believed to be rocket debris that created a brilliant show as it burned in the earth's atmosphere.

A mysterious streak that lit up the Pacific Northwest night sky Thursday is believed to be rocket debris that created a brilliant show as it burned in the earth’s atmosphere.

Dozens of people reported seeing the streaking lights after 9 p.m. Many wondered if it was a meteor shower, but it is now believed to have been a SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket that failed to make its de-orbit burn and underwent an uncontrolled re-entry.

The dazzling display was seen as far as Oregon.

American astronomer Jonathan McDowell said break-ups like this one usually occur about 60 kilometres above the earth, far higher than where planes fly.

He said as the space junk had previously made passes over Texas, Wyoming and California.

The lights prompted a flood of calls to emergency responders like Saanich Police, who sent out a tongue-in-cheek tweet in response.


“We are much better at investigating fires on earth,” police tweeted.

The U.S. National Weather Service in Seattle said there were no expected impacts on the ground in the Pacific Northwest region.

CHEK News

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