Wednesday Night's 'Space Junk' Show Is Actually Quite Common

Jul 28, 2016



 It looked a little like something out of a Syfy movie, or maybe a children’s story.

“Well, we could quote Chicken Little, if you remember that. 'The sky is falling!' Uh, not really," said Patrick Wiggins, Utah's NASA Ambassador.


Wiggins said the Chinese launched a rocket a month ago and the rocket body came down Wednesday night and as it entered Earth's atmosphere. It burned up and created a fire show in the sky which lasted about a minute long.

“Think of whole flaming debris flying across the sky rather slowly. I’d want to call it majestically," Wiggins said.

Wiggins said things like this are actually pretty common, but the debris often falls where no one can see it, like over the ocean.

“So literally, it was simply a piece of discarded space junk falling back to earth," he said. "And it just so happened that it fell in part over Utah - of course several others states as well - but a lot of people in Utah got to see it."

Wiggins says there are predictive websites to tell people when debris might fall through the sky, but most of them don’t pan out. On Tuesday, the Celestral Observer predicted debris flying over Utah between 10:36 p.m. - 10:42 p.m. Very close to the actual time.