People were surprised across the Pacific Northwest to see a fireball light up the night sky at around 9 p.m. on Thursday.
The National Weather Service in Seattle said in a tweet the phenomenon was caused by debris from a Falcon 9 rocket 2nd stage that did not successfully have a “deorbit burn.”
There were no reports of damage or impact on the ground.
The Times reports the rocket delivered Starlink satellites, built in Redmond, Washington, into orbit earlier this week.
SpaceX says the Falcon 9’s first stage returned to Earth and landed as planned on its ocean-going barge off the coast of Florida.
If the angle is too small, they risk "skimming" the atmosphere like a stone on water. Meteors, on the contrary, can easily reach the top of atmosphere at speeds greater than 45,000 mph. In addition, the angle of impact can be very steep…which can incinerate the object quickly.
— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) March 26, 2021
Hundreds of people posted to social media videos of the event, which shows a group of bright objects moving across the night sky.
Have a video or photo of the fireball? You can send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— | JJ | (@jennlovesloth) March 26, 2021
A map in the tweet showed the route passing northwest of Portland across NW Oregon and southwest Washington, then heading northeast towards Spokane.