Streaks of light shot through the night sky on Wednesday as the people in Utah, Nevada and California in the United States watched in wonder. While some thought it was a meteor shower, others believe it was a plane disintegrating. Some even imagined it to be a situation right out of a sci-fi movie.
However, after much speculations over the social media, Utah NASA Ambassador Patrick Wiggins revealed that streaks of light were parts of a Chinese spacecraft CZ-7 R/B, that was launched from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center located in Wenchang, Hainan, China, as a part of “technology demonstration mission.”
According to Satview, the space junk from the rocket is expected to re-enter earth’s atmosphere by early Thursday morning. Though most of it would be burnt out as it re-enters the atmosphere, some parts could reach the surface of the earth, according to a report by the Fox 13 now.
The social media was flooded with videos and pictures of the glowing traces of light making its way towards the earth across the night sky.
Ian Johnston, one of the witnesses, said when he first saw the sudden flash of light in the sky from Eagle Mountain he thought it was fireworks.
“It just sailed right across the sky, exploded and just rained down in a bunch of pieces,” Johnston said. “It was pretty intense.” But then he concluded that it could be a meteor shower.
Astronomer Jonathan McDowell, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said that the rocket re-entered the earth’s atmosphere after remaining in the low orbit for a month.
“Something this big enters in an uncontrolled way probably once a month,” the Los Angeles Times quoted McDowell as saying. “Mostly they fall into the ocean — the Earth is a big place. The chance that you get one at night, over the U.S. at time when people look at the sky — it is relatively low.”