NEWS
09/22/2011 09:09 EDT | Updated 11/22/2011 05:12 EST

New Footage Of Dead NASA Satellite Scheduled To Fall To Earth (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Amateur astronomer Thierry Legault has captured some ghostly images of the doomed NASA satellite scheduled to fall back to earth on Friday.

"The satellite is tumbling, perhaps because of a collision with satellite debris a few years ago," Legault described on his site.

Legault has a heavily modified telescope that he can use to track and photograph objects in orbit such as the International Space Station.

In Legault's footage you can clearly see the distinctive shape of the satellite, including its solar panel.

The 20-year-old Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite will be the biggest NASA spacecraft to fall uncontrolled from the sky in 32 years.

It is expected to break into more than 100 pieces as it enters the atmosphere, most of it burning up. The heaviest metal parts are expected to reach Earth, the biggest chunk weighing about 140 kilograms. The debris could be scattered over an area about 800 kilometres long.

NASA says the satellite should re-enter the atmosphere sometime on Friday but say that could vary. NASA also says that the satellite debris is not likely to hit North America.

You can find out more about the falling satellite on NASA's dedicated site.

Those worried about debris hitting people should note that the odds of a particular individual being hit is somewhere in the neighbourhood of 1 in 21 trillion.

NASA does warn people who find parts of the satellite not to touch it and instead inform local law enforcement.

With files from AP

Top: A NASA artist rendering of the UARS satellite.

Bottom: The UARS satellite is captured by astronomer Thierry Legault.

Video of the satellite captured by Legault: