Mysterious bright light seen across SoCal skies was ‘space junk’

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SAN DIEGO -- People across Southern California reported seeing an unexplained bright light streak across the sky Wednesday night.

Users on social media also reported seeing the light as far as Utah and Nevada.

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.

McDowell told the Los Angeles Times that the rocket reentered over Utah about 9:40 p.m. and was likely traveling about 18,000 mph.

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.

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