Local News

Rocket Launch May Have Caused 'Streaks of Fire' Above N.C. Skies

Posted February 3, 2000

— Through telephone calls and e-mail, many people contacted WRAL-TV and WRAL OnLine Thursday night to report a strange sighting in the sky -- streaks of fire.

There is still no confirmation on the cause, butMorehead Planetariumwas told it was an Atlas Rocket which was launched Thursday night from Cape Canaveral.

The rocket was carrying a satellite, and a piece of it may have fallen back to earth. The streaks of light were spotted from Clayton all the way to Person County.

Here what you told us:

C.J. from Atlantic Beach writes, "I saw it on Atlantic Beach, which faces due south. Part of the 'tail' looked like a sky writer plane's trail after the wind blew it away. Further up was the 'rooster tail,' covering a larger area. It seemed to be going east, then there was nothing left but a bright light with the residue of the trail diminishing with the current of the wind."

Clarence Whitfield writes, "The object I saw was not falling toward Earth. It was traveling horizontally. The fiery object that was creating the smoke or light was red. When it pulled away from the smoke and disappeared, the smoke disappeared as quickly."

Tony Wimberly writes, "At about 6:45 off Highway 55 between Angier and Coats I saw a light in the sky. It looked as if it had two wings on the sides that stretched for miles. It's shaped resembled a fish. It is my belief that I saw a comet."

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