Debris from SpaceX launch lights up Portland sky (VIDEOS)

Mar 26 2021, 9:56 am

Residents living in the Pacific Northwest were astonished on Thursday night after a streak of bright lights that lit up the night sky.

The spectacle occurred just after 9 pm, with countless social media users sharing the photos and videos of the incident online. The streaking lights were captured in parts of Washington and Oregon, as well as British Columbia in Canada.

Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, explained that the spectacle was caused by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that launched just over three weeks ago.

“The Falcon 9 second stage from the March 4 Starlink launch failed to make a deorbit burn and is now reentering after 22 days in orbit,” McDowell says on Twitter.

The Falcon 9 is a reusable rocket that was designed and manufactured by SpaceX. Recently, it’s been used to launch satellites, an integral part of SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service.

McDowell added that space debris is a fairly common occurrence — Thursday’s spectacle marks the 14th piece of space junk with a mass over one tonne that’s reentered the atmosphere since the start of 2021.

Vincent PlanaVincent Plana

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