Fragments of communications equipment fired from the International Space Station (ISS) traveled at a speed of 27.358 km/h, creating numerous streaks of light that lit up the Northern California sky.
Debris flew into the skies over California on March 17.
Debris flew into the skies over California on March 17. (Photo: AP).
THE The streak of light crossing the California night sky on March 17 was the result of the process of burning space debris falling back into the atmosphere.. Fragments of communications equipment fired from the ISS station in February 2020 flew at speeds of more than 27,000 km/h, according to Jonathan McDowell, a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The device’s orbit gradually shrank over the past two years until it was low enough to break up and catch fire.
“What you see are very small pieces that release a lot of energy at very high altitudes and move extremely quickly”McDowell explains.
Used communications antenna weighing 318 kg has a name Installation exposed to the inter-orbit communication system flew into space aboard the space shuttle in 2009. About 10 percent of those devices could fall to Earth in small pieces instead of melting, according to McDowell. The device re-enters the atmosphere in an uncontrolled manner, meaning experts cannot predict exactly where the object will land. McDowell predicts debris will likely fall around Yosemite National Park. In contrast, the release location of a controlled re-entry device can be located through the use of rocket engines.
The large, antenna-sized device that fell on March 17 flies through Earth’s atmosphere every few weeks. The process does not often take place in a fixed location and is therefore always new to those who see it.
On social media, King Cong Brewing in Sacramento shared a video recording the scene. The debris falling into the night sky created a light show that attracted many observers, according to Moriba Jah, associate professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. But when the device catches fire, it can pollute the upper atmosphere. When falling to the Earth’s surface, the device also pollutes the oceans and land, even causing injuries.
Privateer, a company co-founded by Jah, tracks about 48,000 man-made objects, from babies to cell phones to the ISS. Only about 10% of them are still active, the rest being space debris.
Article source: VNE
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Fragments of communications equipment fired from the International Space Station (ISS) traveled at a speed of 27.358 km/h, creating numerous streaks of light that lit up the northern sky…