SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Military officials say a streak of light seen burning across the sky by people in three western states was debris from a Russian rocket re-entering the atmosphere.
U.S. Strategic Command spokeswoman Julie Ziegenhorn says the fireball seen over Arizona, Nevada and California in the Tuesday night sky was an SL-4 rocket body booster from Russia that was launched Monday.
Dozens of people took to social media to share videos and photos and marvel at the white fireball flying through the sky that some described as a shooting star. Others wondered if it was a meteor breaking up on re-entry or space debris from a fallen satellite.
See social media reactions to the rocket:
Mysterious fireball -- Russian rocket burns up in sky over Calif.
Fireball crossing western sky was debris from Russian rocket
Just saw this in the #LasVegas sky. (Bad Video) Meteor? https://t.co/5glZOZmJeP
Accidentally deleted the tweet. But I think a saw a meteor. https://t.co/MlmNLoY9qZ
FAA spox just told me he has “no idea” what the bright light over California and Nevada was.
Apparently I saw a fireball/meteor/Russian rocket burning up across the sky. Looked cool, flaming, slow.
Meteor? Airplane? Space debris whatever it was, I saw it and it was an awesomely weird experience 👽👌🔭🎇 #vegas #bedtime #mysteries
I actually saw that #Meteor across the #LasVegas sky tonight! Fireball tail, then it exploded into pieces! AMAZING!!! @tedpretty @FOX5Vegas
saw a meteor and immediately ranted about the absolute beauty of nihilism!!!!!
Who else saw the meteor falling? https://t.co/visHKZfrcR
Legit just saw a meteor burn right over Death Valley in California. What an amazing sight.
Wow! I just saw a huge meteor! Long streak, perhaps 12-15 seconds to cross the sky, distinct head and long tail.