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Science & Technology

That Green Light Seen Across California Tuesday Night? Not Space Junk, Officials Say

A green light that streaked across the night sky over the Southland and was seen from the Mexican border to Central California Tuesday night was apparently a meteor or some other kind of heavenly body falling to Earth.

The green streak lit up the sky as well as social media when it was seen around 10 p.m. The American Meteor Society said it received more than 75 reports about the light.

The group received a number of reports from observers in San Diego:

"So this was really hard to fill out. I was flying an airplane at the time. I don't know what street address I was at, just an approximation of where I was over San Diego. The fireball actually blew up below the horizon from my perspective."
"It looked very close and didn't seem like it was going to go out before it hit the ground. Bright green with what looked like yellow sparks. Super bright (pretty) los site behind houses."
"It was much larger than normal and slower than the fast quick ones I have seen."

In a statement released to City News Service, U.S. Navy Lt. Laura Stegherr of the U.S. Strategic Command said:

"After investigation, U.S. Strategic Command's Functional Component Command for Space ... concluded that the information provided does not correlate to any of the more than 16,000 on-orbit cataloged objects tracked and listed in USSTRATOM's Satellite Catalog and the publicly available website Therefore, we have determined that the re-entry of a man-made object did not occur at this time."

That means the green light that millions of people viewed Tuesday night was not a satellite or space junk but probably a meteor burning up in the atmosphere as it headed toward Earth.

A video of the sighting posted on YouTube