"UARS crash" at Okotoks Alberta (Canada) now confirmed to be hoax
NASA has held a teleconference. Basically, they did not report anything new regarding the potential reentry location than what I already reported here based on SSC and Harro Zimmer's conclusions. Note that this NASA map released is basically the same I posted here earlier.
I don't share some of the critique currently levelled at NASA. See discussion at the end of this post.
Okotoks, Canada: a HOAX
The Okotoks (Alberta, Canada) video and report of debris being found (see earlier post here) - news media now report it is a HOAX. Seems I was right with having my reservations. [update 26 sep: more here. The report on wreckage was a hoax created by an aspiring film maker, apparently]
Aircraft contrails being mistaken for UARS
Meanwhile, simple aircraft contrails keep being mistaken for UARS as well: see the previous post and another case here.
Radar artefacts being mistaken for UARS
This one that is doing the rounds, is a mis-interpretation of a very common weather radar artefact. Note how the streak neatly points to the radar origin in the center.
Chinese lantern balloons being presented as "UARS"
As I pointed out in the previous post, footage of Chinese lantern balloons are either deliberately or mistakenly being passed off as "UARS" in the media as well.
Possible confusion with meteoric fireballs
To complicate the picture, there is also the point that "normal" meteoric fireballs appear and can be mistaken for UARS. Multiple such fireballs occur somewhere on this world every day.
Indeed, we had a very nice meteoric firebal (seen by amongst others myself while waiting for the UARS pass) of mag. -5 appear 5 minutes before the 1:37 UTC UARS pass on the 24th. Klaas Jobse has a nice all-sky image of that one here. Yet another one appeared a mere 17 minutes later (video of both fireballs here, again by Klaas Jobse). These were meteoric fireballs, little bits of asteroid or comet debris not related to UARS at all.
While it didn't fool experienced observers like me, laypersons could have easily mistaken it for UARS debris.
Some genuine reports of bright fireball phenomena seen around the predicted reentry time from a.o. Canada, could be such cases of meteoric fireballs. Without clear details on duration and character, it is difficult to discern between these and any potential real reentry observations.
Critique on NASA: I don't share that critique
There is currently a lot of critique on NASA that they can't pinpoint the point of reentry. I think those critiques are unfounded and stem from unrealistic expectations.
All I can say is: people expect too much of NASA and modern technology, notably under the influence of unrealistic TV-series that depict NASA as know-it-alls that can do anything (with just a few computer keystrokes and maybe a hack into a satellite feed here and there typically, according to the TV series that increasingly mold the public's "reality").
But even the best technology and best experts have their limits (and in terms of the actual tracking, this technology is not operated by NASA, but by the US Air Force, by the way), and with the last few UARS revolutions largely over empty ocean devoid of tracking stations, things simply get difficult. There are limits to what models can do when devoid of real-time tracking sensor input.
I might, given time and energy, elaborate on that later in a separate post