Fiery fall of WT1190F. Narrow field view recorded by the Dexter Southfield team showing part of a single frame from a movie camera.  Credit: Rapid Response Team/SETI Institute/IAC/UAE Space Agency

Fiery fall of WT1190F.
Narrow field view recorded by the Dexter Southfield team showing part of a single frame from a movie camera.
Credit: Rapid Response Team/SETI Institute/IAC/UAE Space Agency

An international airborne campaign to observe the plunge to Earth of WT1190F – an unidentified space object – has claimed victory in documenting the fiery fall off of Sri Lanka.

In a statement from the SETI Institute’s rapid response team that included the International Astronomical Center in Abu Dhabi and the UAE Space Agency:

Aircraft observing team. Credit: UAE Space Agency

Aircraft observing team.
Credit: UAE Space Agency

“The remaining challenge proved to be the weather. It was raining in Sri Lanka. Much of our flight to the area saw haze above our flight altitude at 45,000 feet, but our navigator, pilot and first officer found a small clearing and managed to put the aircraft there at the right time. We had a perfect view of the WT1190F reentry, which was bright by naked eye. We have incredible imaging data and also succeeded in doing quality spectroscopy at blue and red wavelengths, which is a first for us in daytime conditions.”

Later stage of reentry as detected by the UAE Space Agency team.  Credit: Rapid Response Team/SETI Institute/IAC/UAE Space Agency

Later stage of reentry as detected by the UAE Space Agency team.
Credit: Rapid Response Team/SETI Institute/IAC/UAE Space Agency

High-altitude explosion

According to the Ministry of Defense/Sri Lanka:

“The space debris named as ‘WT1190F’ had exploded at the time it entered the Earth’s atmosphere yesterday (13th Nov) according to the Mr. Chinthana Wijayawardana, Deputy Director (Media), Arthur C Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies. It had exploded about 100 kilometers above the sea level and the falling space debris, which blasted during re-entry, had burned off and no remains of it had splashed into the sea.”

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