Not so mysterious “streaks of light” seen over California

Photo: P. Kozlenko (Fair Use)

There were no extraterrestrial aircraft observed in the skies over California on Friday night.

According to experts, the stunning and striking string of lights visible after 9:30 p.m. was caused by space debris burning up as it reentered the Earth’s atmosphere, the San Francisco Gate reported.

In an email to SFGATE, Gerald McKeegan, an adjunct astronomer at Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland, stated that the space debris responsible for the lights was outdated equipment from a previous Space Shuttle mission to the International Space Station.

“Satellites or spacecraft hardware left behind from old missions may eventually re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere after many years in a slowly decaying orbit,” McKeegan said. “The hardware heats up and then breaks apart high in the atmosphere, at altitudes of 25 miles or more.”

McKeegan stated that the light display was visible across California, Oregon, and Nevada. One of the first videos of the phenomenon was posted on Instagram by a brewery in Sacramento, sparking questions about its origin on Friday night.

Written by staff