Tri-City Herald (Kennewick, Wash.)
Mar. 26—A streak of bright lights crossed the night sky about 9 p.m. Thursday night to the amazement of people in the Tri-Cities and across the Northwest.
The National Weather Service in Seattle reported about 9:30 p.m. that it suspected the bright objects in the sky were the debris from a Falcon 9 rocket second stage that did not successfully have a deorbit burn.
However, its information was unofficial, it said.
There were no expected impacts on the ground in the region, it said.
A deorbit burn is the firing of the engines of a spacecraft to enable it to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere.
The Falcon 9 is a reusable two-stage rocket designed by SpaceX to transport people and payloads into Earth orbit and beyond, according to the SpaceX web site.
It says there have been 111 total launches and 71 total landings with 54 reflown rockets.
Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Center for Astrophysics, posted on his personal Twitter feed that the Falcon 9 second stage from a March 4 Starlink launch failed to make a deorbit burn and is now reentering after 22 days in orbit.
Starlink is the high-speed broadband internet service being deployed by SpaceX.
People posting on social media reported seeing the lights from Seattle south to Newport, Oregon, and as far inland as at least Yakima and the Tri-Cities.
“Truly an amazing sight you’re never going to forget,” one person posted.
“Incredible,” “crazy” and “beautiful,” posted others.
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