Dazzling Sky Show Over Pacific Northwest Was SpaceX Rocket Booster Falling Out of Orbit


A SpaceX rocket booster falling out of orbit made for a spectacular display over much of the Pacific Northwest on Thursday night, prompting calls to authorities and excited posts to social media.

Embed: Spectacle in the Sky

A second stage from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket had failed to make its deorbit burn earlier this month and burned up in the atmosphere at about 9 p.m., according to reports.

"The widely reported bright objects in the sky were the debris from a Falcon 9 rocket 2nd stage that did not successfully have a deorbit burn," the National Weather Service in Seattle wrote on Twitter.

The disintegrating rocket part split into numerous pieces as it fell into the night sky, prompting reports of airplane crashes or meteor strikes.

The spectacle was visible as far north as Seattle and as far west as Cannon Beach in Oregon, according to posts on social media.

Many people in Lewis County posted videos and photos of the event. 

The National Weather Service in Portland reported on its social media channel that it had received numerous calls about the display and while it could not confirm that it was indeed the Falcon 9 second stage said it seemed possible.

There was no comment on the spectacle from SpaceX on its Twitter feed.