SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket debris likely caused streak of bright lights across Pacific Northwest sky

SEATTLE — Skygazers in the Pacific Northwest spotted an unusual sight Thursday night: several bright lights streaking slowly overhead.

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But the phenomenon, reported about 9 p.m. PDT, probably wasn’t a meteor shower or plane crash, as some social media users speculated.

According to the National Weather Service in Seattle, residents likely were seeing SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket debris.

“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 second stage that did not successfully have a deorbit burn,” the agency tweeted overnight. “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.”

Morgan Palmer, chief meteorologist for Seattle’s KIRO-TV, said the rocket stage, part of a March 4 Starlink satellite launch, broke up while re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere after 22 days in orbit.

“Meteors would generally be moving much faster as they burn up,” Palmer tweeted.

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