Mystery lights streak across California skies - But what were they?
 
 
 
 
 
 

Mystery lights streak across California skies – But what were they?

Video shows what appears to be a cluster of objects – possibly meteorites or some type of object breaking up as it plummeted toward the Earth
07:00 PM April 02, 2024

Mystery lights

The mystery lights were similar to what NASA captured in this photo of a cluster of meteorites. Photo (from NASA) for illustration purposes only

LOS ANGELES – What exactly were those lights that streaked across the Southland sky early Tuesday morning?

The lights were visible over most of the region around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday. Video shows what appears to be a cluster of objects streaking over the area – possibly a cluster of meteorites or more likely some type of object breaking up as it plummeted toward the Earth.

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Some speculation quickly arose that the lights might have been connected to a SpaceX rocket launch that occurred Monday night from Vandenberg Space Force Base on the Central Coast. But that launch occurred around 7:30 p.m., long before the mystery lights appeared.

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Online speculators seemed to coalesce Tuesday around the idea that some type of space junk such as an old rocket booster had simply fallen to Earth, breaking up as it re-entered the atmosphere and creating the impressive display.

By midday Tuesday, experts including Smithsonian astronomer Jonathan McDowell and the SETI Institute said the objects in the sky were the remains of the Chinese Shenzhou 15 orbital module, which launched into space in November 2022, carrying three astronauts who spent six months at the Tiangong space station. The module had been predicted to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere on Tuesday morning.

On Monday at 7:30 p.m., SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base on the coast between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obisbo.

The base is about 240 miles from Palm Springs and recent Falcon 9 launches from the base have been visible from the Coachella Valley, including one in March and another in February. The launches often appear as white streaks shooting across the sky.

Monday’s launch was originally planned for Saturday but that plan was scrapped because of poor weather resulting from the storms that drenched Southern California this weekend.

Like the February and March launches, the reusable rocket will carry 22 satellites into orbit and then land on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean. (with CNS report)

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TAGS: SpaceX
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