What Were Those Amazing Fireballs In The Western Sky?

Fireballs spotted over western US as Chinese rocket burns up

Recently, big orange fireballs with streaking tails were spotted in Western North America, from Arizona in the U.S. all the way up into Canada. What were they? U.F.O.’s? Meteorites?

According to a report from the Associated Press, they were created by a Chinese rocket booster.

The lights were not a meteor, but a Chinese rocket booster that broke apart, said Maj. Martin O’Donnell, a spokesman for U.S. Strategic Command.

There were no reports of damage or injuries, O’Donnell said, pointing to statistics showing there is a 1 in a trillion chance of being hit by space debris.

Canadian photographer Neil Zeller was on his way home from shooting the Northern Lights when he saw the cluster of fireballs in a rural area outside of Calgary about 11 p.m. local time.

Fireballs spotted over western US as Chinese rocket burns up

“I’d never seen anything like it,” he said. He captured several shots of an orange streak slashed above dark trees.

It lingered in the sky for more than a minute, showing slow movement that is a sure sign of a man-made object re-entering from space, he said. Naturally occurring meteors last just a few seconds.

In West Calagary, Canada, Neil Zeller captured a Chinese rocket burned up in the atmosphere west of  …

“It was pretty significant — over 150 reports is a lot. It covered a real wide range,” Hankey said.

Fireballs spotted over western US as Chinese rocket burns up

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