Mysterious streaks of light painted the night sky across western parts of the country Wednesday night — and then video of the UFO show began lighting up social media.
— 🧗♂️ Matt Holt (@mholt6) July 28, 2016
Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts tweeted that the fireball was debris from a Chinese rocket launched June 25.
Satview, which tracks satellites, estimates the “space junk” from China’s CZ-7 R/B rocket reentered the atmosphere early Thursday morning.
The rocket was part of a “technology demonstration mission” launched from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in Hainan, China, according to Utah NASA Ambassador Patrick Wiggins.
Officials at the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City and Nevada were also responding to people on Twitter who had seen the majestic lights Wednesday night.
A spokesman for U.S. Strategic Command told the Times said the agency would not provide details of what might have actually happened until Thursday.
— VintPyper (@VintPyper) July 28, 2016
— G3KByte (@G3KByte) July 28, 2016
Observation reports from Utah indicate the second stage from the first Chang Zheng 7 rocket, launched Jun 25, reentered at 0440 UTC
— Jonathan McDowell (@planet4589) July 28, 2016
— Jeff Sullivan Photo (@JeffSullPhoto) July 28, 2016