SETI Institute's Peter Jenniskens Observes WT1190F from the Air

Clouds hampered observations from the ground in Sri Lanka during the re-entry of WT1190F overnight, but a team of astronomers captured spectacular images of the object from a high-flying plane over the Indian Ocean very close to the predicted time of arrival. 

Co-organized by SETI Institute research scientist Peter Jenniskens and Mohammad Odeh of the International Astronomical Center in Dhabi, the crew included Mike Koop and Jim Albers of the SETI Institute along with German, UK and United Arab Emirates astronomers. The rapid response team was able to capture images high above the clouds.

When WT1190F struck this atmosphere over the Indian Ocean around 6:20 Universal Time (12:20 a.m. CST) today , it broke apart into multiple meteors against the blue sky. Credit: IAC/UAE Space Agency/NASA/ESA

Peter Jenniskens of the SETI Institute is shown here before the flight setting up the eleven staring cameras with a wider field of view, including two spectographic cameras, to catch the reentry.  Credit: IAC/UAE Space Agency/NASA/ESA