Canadian fireball was NOT the ISS toolbag

Contributed by
Nov 23, 2008
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I've been getting email and comments on an earlier post wondering if the Canadian fireball seen on Thursday were actually the toolbag lost earlier this week by a spacewalking astronaut on the International Space Station. I've seen this question pop up elsewhere as well.

I can say unequivocally that the answer is no, because it takes months or years for objects at the ISS's height to have their orbits decay and burn up in our atmosphere.

But now I have proof! Over at Universe Today, they link to a video of the toolbag caught in orbit by an amateur astronomer! The video was captured on November 22, two days after the bright Canadian fireball.

So the tool bag is still up there, and will be for quite some time. Looks like some people have fallen victim to the famous logical fallacy post hoc ergo propter hoc, which means "after this, therefore because of this". The fireball occurred after the toolbag was lost, so therefore it was the toolbag that was lost. But now we know that's not true.

Remember, even if two unlikely events happen around the same time, they're not necessarily related!