NEUQUEN – Three unidentified objects entered the atmosphere, creating a tremendous flash that lit the region’s skies from Alto Valle to the Cordilleran Lake region, according to witnesses.
The phenomenon occurred on Saturday night between 22:15 and 23:00 hours and was confirmed by the Neuquén Astronomical Observatory and the Bariloche Naval Prefecture. Roberto Figueroa, director of the Observatory, told Rio Negro Online that 'around 22:15 I was in the observatory with some people and we suddenly saw how the entire sky in the western part of Parque Norte became illuminated. We saw three very bright objects, unidentified, which exploded upon entering the atmosphere, producing a tremendous flash that was followed y a sort of smoke.'
He ratified that these were unidentified flying objects, and he understands that it could have been “a large asteroid measuring between 5 and 8 meters in diameter. It would be one of many that cross Earth’s path as collision point. As they enter our atmosphere, they heat up and expand in such a way that they wind up burning up and falling as ashes,” explained Figueroa. “However, it could also have been the reentry of one of many satellites orbiting the earth.” The expert concluded by saying that there “are no specifics to what actually seen.”
From Bariloche, residents and tourists claimed seeing a light fall to earth in Lake Nahuel Huapi. According to the Bariloche News Agency, members of the Naval Prefecture reported receiving calls from several residents, including some who were in Lake Mascardi and claimed seeing “a flashing light.”
The Prefecture believed at first that it was a flare and sent a vessel to survey the area toward the Limay River as indicated by callers, but nothing was found. “We supposed that it was a shooting star, but do not have any solid data on what occurred.”
A group of fishermen at the Piedra del Aguila area also confirmed the sighting, but added the detail that it was followed by a loud report. In Roca, residents celebrating the Fiesta Nacional de la Manzana (Apple Day) also witnessed the phenomenon. “It was a greenish blue object that seemed to be made of metal,” said a woman.
This sighting has occurred only days away from the first collision in space produced by cosmic traffic. The collision, which occurred last Tuesday and was reported on Friday, involved two satellites – one Russian, the other American, which impacted some 800 km over Siberia.
(Translation (c) 2009, Scott Corrales, IHU. Special thanks to J.L. Figueras, FAO)