Around 9:30pm last night, residents of Northern California began reporting bright lights in the sky that could be seen as far away as Las Vegas. So far no one has any idea what they were.
CBS Sacramento suspects they were meteors, citing three meteor showers—the Delta Aquarids, Alpha Capricornids, and Perseids—that are currently underway. The Los Angeles Times, however, spoke to an expert who believes the lights were caused by the re-entry of Chinese rocket Long March 7, which was originally launched June 25th of this year. Some on Twitter guessed it was an old satellite falling back to Earth, while Ian Norman, who shot the below video, believes what he filmed was a very specific piece of space junk—though according to Satview that particular detritus has not yet hit the atmosphere.
The speed these objects were moving and the amount of debris in the tail suggest something man-made, but no one knows for sure. Whatever it was, it broke up over the Wasatch Mountains in Utah last night, producing an audible sonic boom, according to residents. We’ll update as details become available.
Update July 28, 10am: US Strategic Command confirmed to the Associated Press that the object in question was Long March 7. It is not known if the reentry posed any danger to people in the area though so far we have seen no reports of damaged caused by any debris.