Look, up in the California sky: It’s Chinese space junk

What people first thought was a spectacular meteor in the Wednesday night sky over California and other Western states was actually Chinese space junk.

A spokeswoman at NASA said Thursday that the fiery trail of sparks in the atmosphere was the re-entry of a Chinese rocket body. NASA received many calls from people who witnessed the celestial sight.

The event was captured on smartphones and posted on social media. The images showed either bright lights or a shimmering trail of what some guessed was a meteor burning in Earth’s atmosphere.

The website Spaceflight Now said that the disintegration of the newest Chinese satellite launcher took nearly a minute to cross the sky. The website said the disappearing object was the second stage of a Chinese Long March 7 rocket, which was sent skyward June 25 on a test flight.

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews