People from California, Nevada and Utah reported seeing unidentified streaks of lights traveling across the star-filled sky. Witnesses said the two side-by-side streaks of fire lasted for less than a minute.
The National Weather Service told a local Los Angeles news station that the incident was not weather-related. The Vandenberg Air Force Base told CBS Los Angeles they did not have a launch Wednesday night.
Was it a meteor or meteor shower? A fireball or smoldering satellite?
Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., told The L.A. Times that the fireball was debris from a Chinese rocket launched June 25.
Based on tracking data provided by the Joint Space Operations Center, McDowell said the Long March 7 rocket reentered about 9:40 p.m. over Utah.
After a month in low orbit, it reentered the atmosphere and was probably traveling about 18,000 mph, he said.
When those on the ground spotted the trail of light, it was probably about 50 miles overhead, he added.
— Matt Holt (@mholt6) July 28, 2016
— Connor Johnson (@24cdawg) July 28, 2016
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