Skyfall over Brazil. Photo: Direto das Ruas via Campo Grande News

Skyfall over Brazil.
Photo: Direto das Ruas via Campo Grande News

In the early morning hours of December 28, large numbers of people in Brazil witnessed what appears to be a spectacular reentry of space hardware, flashing through the sky while producing a roar and several bangs.

Reports from Campo Grande say one of the reentering pieces has been found in a farm field, an object that came to rest not too far from a house.

A selfie image posted on Facebook shows the object that, say locals, came from the sky.

Selfie photo posted on Facebook shows purported piece of space junk associated with objects reentering over Brazil. Credit: Via Facebook

Selfie photo posted on Facebook shows purported piece of space junk associated with objects reentering over Brazil.
Credit: Via Facebook

Worldwide network

Jumping into action as to what caused the event is a worldwide network of amateur satellite watchers. These sky detectives piece together and share video, photographs, local news accounts, as well as satellite tracking reports to help categorize reentering objects, posting their updates on the SeeSat-L website of satellite watchers.

The object that fell in the countryside of Santa Rita do Rio Pardo, about 166 miles (268 kilometers) from Campo Grande is now believed to be a composite overwrap pressure vessel type.

The location of the object was roughly 985 feet (300 meters) from the city’s urban area.

Close-up photo of space debris believed to be associated with skyfall over Brazil. Credit: Via Facebook

Close-up photo of space debris believed to be associated with skyfall over Brazil.
Credit: Via Facebook

Rocket body?

There is growing but guarded belief that the bit of returned-to-Earth flotsam may well have been associated with the reentry of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket body.

Still, according to lead skywatcher, Ted Molczan of Canada, there remains the possibility that some other reentering candidate will emerge that has been overlooked.

“So, there is work remaining to be done,” he said.

Also active in identifying the source of the heavenly hubbub is Cees Bassa and Joseph Remis, each contributing data on the SeeSat-L website. Paul Maley, an experienced satellite observer, is also on the trail of what was behind the recent reentry.

Leftovers from a Falcon 9 second stage is one candidate as the object found in Brazil - or is it? The red tanks on this image of the Falcon 9 second stage appear to match the recovered debris in shape and size. Photo credit: Chris Thompson, SpaceX via Cees Bassa.

Leftovers from a Falcon 9 second stage is one candidate as the object found in Brazil – or is it? The red tanks on this image of the Falcon 9 second stage appear to match the recovered debris in shape and size.
Photo credit: Chris Thompson, SpaceX via Cees Bassa.

Caught on camera

Flagging early information on the skyfall on the SeeSat-L website was Carlos Bella in Brazil, living in Goiânia city – far north of the trajectory of the reentry fireball.

Bella told Inside Outer Space that he’s quickly alerted of events like the recent incident by friends because he’s founder of the BRAMON (Brazilian Meteor Observation Network), the first video meteor network in the country.

Check out these reentry videos, this one published on Dec 28 by Dourados Agora:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=il_uhV23JUk

And a new YouTube vídeo from Navirai city, south of city of Dourados in Brazil, published by Fabiano Barbosa da Silva:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WDUPH6PIAU

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