*Of course not. How many times have we seen this in the past few months???*
WASHINGTON – The flashing lights and booming sounds that were attributed to a piece of orbiting space junk were not the result of a man-made object, according to the United States Air Force.
In an e-mail sent to WTOP, Stefan Bocchino of the USAF Joint Space Operations Center says the “bright light” seen over parts of the East Coast Sunday night was not a result of a man-made space object.
The Joint Space Operations Center tracks more than 19,000 man-made objects in space, but no natural phenomena.
It was first believed that the lights and sounds were caused by space junk related to the Russian rocket Soyuz docking with the International Space Stations Saturday.
Geoff Chester, spokesman for the U.S. Naval Observatory, was nearly sure the object was the rocket’s booster tanks for numbers of reasons. Whatever flashed through the sky followed the exact path the space junk was traveling over the eastern seaboard.
Witnesses describe the flashes in the sky as being colored with yellows and oranges. While fireballs usually throw sparks that appear green followed by trains of blue and red. The loud explosion accompanying the balls of fire in the sky also could be explained if the object was a rocket tank with residual amounts of booster fuel.
The flashes and booms that people heard prompted calls to 911 and the National Weather Service late Sunday night.
According to WVEC.com, the calls were numerous enough for the National Weather Service to release this statement late Sunday night:
“Numerous reports have been called in to this office and into local law enforcement concerning what appeared to be flashes of light in the sky over the Suffolk/Virginia Beach area. We are confident in saying that this was not lightning…and have been in contact with military and other government agencies to determine the cause. So far…we have not seen or heard of any damage from this and will continue to inquire as to the cause.”