The strange sighting Wednesday night could be seen from Stockton to Los Angeles and as far away as Utah and Nevada. UFO? Experts explain.
People from all over California had one major question Wednesday night: Just what was that light in the sky? If you were outside just before 10 p.m., you likely saw it. A mysterious fireball was seen streaking across the night sky. The unidentified flying object abruptly ended its journey when it broke into pieces. Witnesses from the Bay Area to Los Angeles and as far away as Utah and Nevada reported seeing the enigmatic light. Experts quickly took to social media to try to explain the cause of the unexpected celestial activity.
Astronomer Matt Holt referred to the incident as a “meteor-like event” on Twitter and shared video he filmed from Provo, Utah. Astronomer Phil Plait tweeted, “Some folks incorrectly saying this was a Delta Aquarid meteor. Way too slow. Definitely space junk.” Several witnesses thought it might be a weather balloon, others thought it could be part of the Perseid Meteor Shower 2016. While the showers peak between Aug. 12-13, they are active between July 13-Aug. 26 and can be seen during this period.
Soon after the Twitter-sphere was inundated with inquiries from across the state, the National Weather Service in Utah tweeted, “The object in question was not a meteor but rather a piece of space junk.” Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, seemed to share that explanation and tweeted, “Observation reports from Utah indicate the second stage from the first Chang Zheng 7 rocket, launched Jun 25, reentered at 0440 UTC.”
According to Aerospace Corporation, a research facility for the United States Air Force, a CZ-7 Rocket Body was launched on June 25 from Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in China and was expected to reenter the atmosphere on July 28.
In November of 2015, residents from all over California witnessed a blue light streak across the night sky. Government officials claimed the sighting was the result of a U.S. Navy test.