The Nugget Newspaper - News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Space debris lights up night sky over Sisters


Last updated 3/26/2021 at Noon

courtesy Rebecca Hendrix

A Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage broke up in spectacular fashion.

Sisters Country residents were treated to a spectacular display of lights blazing across the night sky at about 9 p.m. last Thursday night. According to the National Weather Service, the fiery objects were space debris.

The agency reported that, “The widely reported bright objects in the sky were debris from a Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage that did not successfully have a deorbit burn.”

The Seattle Times reported that the rocket delivered Starlink satellites, built in Redmond, Washington, into orbit earlier this week.

The display was startling, especially since it was not immediately clear what it was. One local resident said he initially thought a jumbo jet was crashing. As reported in The New York Times, astronomer Jonathan McDowell wrote that the space debris “was the result of a breakup that happened about 30 miles above where airplanes fly. The Falcon 9 debris falling to earth was ‘unlikely to be major,’ he added, and would most likely fall in the Rocky Mountains near the Canadian border.”

But while it streaked across the Sisters’ skies, the display was, in the words of a local resident, “the most extraordinary thing I’ve ever seen in the sky.”


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