THURSDAY UPDATE: A Chinese rocket re-entered the atmosphere near California late Wednesday night around the same time many people shared video on social media of a mysterious bright object streaking across the night sky.
U.S. Strategic Command spokeswoman Julie Ziegenhorn wouldn’t say if the rocket ever posed danger to people on the ground. She says the command often sees re-entries.
Ziegenhorn tells The Associated Press the Chinese CZ-7 rocket re-entered the atmosphere around 11:36 p.m. Central time. That’s about the same time social media lit up with reports from Nevada, Utah and California of a small fireball streaking across the sky.
Ziegenhorn referred all other questions about the rocket to Chinese authorities
Officials from Nellis Air Force Base in southern Nevada had earlier told KTNV-TV the light was a meteor breaking up.
Reporting by the Associated Press.
Previous story below:
Social media is buzzing tonight about a meteor that streaked across the sky over Northern California. The bright object was traveling east and appears to have broken up over the Wasatch Mountains in Utah.
Authorities at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas tell the local CBS affiliate they suspect the object was a meteor, but they are continuing to check other sources.
A trio of meteor showers is now underway. The Delta Aquarids peak early in the morning on Friday, July 29. Meteors from this shower appear to shoot out from a central point called a radiant, which is located near the star Delta Aquarii. The best viewing time is between 2 and 4 a.m. in the southeast sky but they’re visible as early as midnight local time.
The second shower currently in progress is the Alpha Capricornids, which radiate from northwestern Capricornus. While these meteors are very limited in number they can sometimes be fairly bright. The Capricornids peak in late July.
The third meteor is the Perseids, which are already in progress, but become more active in August, reaching a peak on the night of August 12 and early morning hours of August 13. The Perseids can be found in the northeast sky and are most visible around midnight local time.
It was spotted moving across the sky in Las Vegas, according to this tweet.
Some people say they saw it break up over Utah.