Space debris WT1190F to collide with earth on November 13, opportunity for boffins

An object, which is according to some, is a spent rocket body or part of a lunar-bound spacecraft, will be making a fiery come back to the planet Earth on November 13, 2015. Scientists are saying that the said object, which has been temporarily tagged as WT1190F, will most likely burn up in the process.

The mysterious space debris has been spotted by astronomers representing the Catalina Sky Survey team on October 3. Soon, the astronomers realized that it’s the same object that was spotted by them twice in 2013.

These observations provided the scientists with enough information for creating a computer model of the journey of WT1190F. The same set of information also allowed them to predict that the object will be reentering our planet’s atmosphere around 1.20 a.m. EST. Every single particle that will be surviving the plunge into the Earth’s atmosphere will be splashing down into the Indian Ocean off Sri Lanka’s southern coast.


According to information provided by the European Space Agency (ESA), the object set to hit the Earth’s surface is not very big; its diameter is not more than 2 meters. That’s not all; astronomers believe that a large portion of the object will burn up when traveling through our planet’s atmosphere.

According to experts at the ESA, the mass of the mysterious space debris is not enough for causing any threat to the region. However, they have predicted that the event will result in a spectacular show as when hitting the noon sky (local time), the object will turn quite bright for a short span of time.

Right now, WT1190F is located in an elliptical orbit around our planet. The said orbit covers two times the distance between Earth and the moon. Scientists are confident that WT1190F is manmade space debris. This is because the object has very low density, around 10% of water’s density.

Other than being spotted by Catalina Sky Survey observations, this space debris has been identified by another prominent database. According to astronomer software developer Bill Gray, mention of WT1190F has also been found in the archived Pan-STARRS data of 2012, 2013 and 2015.

Gray said that he’s hoping that someone will succeed in going back further, and if that happens we might come to know about a time when the debris was very close to the moon.