See Photos of Chinese Space Lab Tiangong-1's Dramatic Fall to Earth
The defunct Chinese space lab Tiangong-1 plummeted back to Earth on Sunday, April 1, landing in the southern Pacific Ocean—and not over the vast tracts of land that had been in the bullseye, according to The Guardian. The lab was expected to disintegrate as it entered our atmosphere, and bits of it may have fallen to the sea about 60 miles north of Tahiti, astrophysicist Brad Tucker told Reuters.
The Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques FHR, a radar research institute based in Germany, captured dramatic shots of Tiangong-1 as it got closer to Earth. The lab's body and two outstretched solar panels appeared to be consumed in flames as it hurtled through the blackness of space.
While many skywatchers around the world had waited eagerly for a hail of fiery space junk, some Chinese fans left poignant farewell messages to Tiangong-1 (which means "Heavenly Palace") on the popular microblogging site Weibo. According to The Guardian, one user wrote, "Goodbye Tiangong-1. You are our hero."
[h/t The Guardian]