Fireworks over Northamptonshire as stargazers capture rare sight of NASA rocket in night sky

Landsat-9 satellite spotted overhead less than two hours after lift-off in California

By Kevin Nicholls
Thursday, 30th September 2021, 11:33 am

Northamptonshire was treated to a firework display a few weeks early, courtesy of a NASA rocket.

Stargazer Jamie Cooper picked up strange cone-shaped lights in skies over the county at just after 10pm on Monday night (September 27).

Jamie had his camera set up to catch meteors burning up in the Earth's atmosphere — but was treated to an even more spectacular show.

Cameras spotting meteors picked up the rocket's burn over Northamptonshire

Space experts believe it was Atlas V rocket launcher carrying the NASA Landsat-9 satellite, which lifted off from California less than an hour earlier.

Clear skies allowed the UK a rare view of the rocket releasing two glowing clouds of vapour before heading back to Earth.

Rocket burns are rarely visible over Europe skies and more often seen in skies above Florida or California.

The Landsat satellite is the latest in a 40-year-old and will soon be sending back stunning images of the Earth's surface from space.

The Landsat-9 satellite lifted off from California at just after 8pm BST