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The doomed Tiangong-1 is now expected to fall to Earth around 8:30 p.m. EDT (0030 April 2 GMT) on Sunday (April 1), with a window of 1.7 hours, officials with European Space Agency and Aerospace Space Debris Office said in an update this afternoon (April 1).
Current predictions for Tiangong-1 show that the station may fall somewhere around Africa, although that area remains highly uncertain. Even a change in time of a minute will alter the predicted debris track by hundreds of miles, cautioned Aerospace Corp. Not only that, Tiangong-1's re-entry time is becoming more delayed and the station may actually enter on April 2, depending on the sun's activity and the station's tumble.
"The predictions are getting farther and farther into the future," Andrew Abraham, a senior member of the technical staff at Aerospace Corp, told Space.com in an interview today. "We're going to keep it [the Aerospace Corp. website] updated basically as frequently as we get the data, which varies. The sensors aren't evenly distributed across the globe. Sometimes we get more data, and sometimes periods where there's not as much data."
Most of the United States appeared to be in the clear at that time, except for one orbital track that moves over California northeast towards Texas. Again, Abraham cautioned, this information is subject to change as predictions are updated.
The time for Tiangong-1's uncontrolled descent remains highly uncertain, in large part due to how quiet the sun has been. If the sun is active, its energy pushes more strongly against Earth's atmosphere. The atmosphere then balloons and becomes denser at higher altitudes. The density of the atmosphere affects the drag against Tiangong-1's orbital speed. As Tiangong-1 loses energy due to drag, it falls towards Earth.
"The space debris team at ESA have adapted their reentry forecast over the last 24 hours to take into consideration the conditions of low solar activity. New data received overnight gave further confirmation that the forecast window is moving to later on 1 April," ESA officials said in an update from 5 a.m. EDT (0900 GMT).
The northeastern United States endured gusty winds, plummeting temperatures and snow this weekend.
A seventh victim has been found after a landslide struck a construction site in Penang, Malaysia on Friday.
With the exception of a day here and there, the overall weather pattern will remain chilly in the northeastern United States with opportunities for snow through the end of October.
Following a retreat of moisture, more rain will spread across Texas this week, and eventually reach areas along the Florida Gulf Coast still recovering from Hurricane Michael.
Vicente and Willa, the latter of which became a major hurricane on Sunday, will combine to bring a one-two tropical punch to southwestern and western Mexico this week.
Cold air will settle over the Northeast this week, bringing a chilly start to the 2018 World Series.
A very sharp cold front sent damaging winds and snow through areas near Chicago, Illinois.
With the northeastern United States facing gusty winds, plummeting temperatures and even snow this weekend, residents may be wondering how long the taste of winter will last.