Mysterious lights streaked across the sky in Sacramento on Friday, prompting many people to wonder if they were witnessing a UFO sighting or if space debris was heading towards Earth.
However, according to an astronomy expert from the Sacramento Valley Astronomical Society, the lights were actually caused by an old Japanese communication satellite called ICS-E-F, which was lost to the International Space Station in 2009 and became space junk.
The satellite took more than a decade to come back down to Earth, and the streaking lights seen on Friday were a result of its re-entry.
Despite the excitement, the expert notes that these occurrences are not uncommon due to the abundance of space junk orbiting Earth.
NASA’s website reports that roughly 27,000 pieces of space debris are currently being tracked by Department of Defense sensors.