Chinese Space Junk Causes Light Show Over California, Locals Stunned

The light shower appeared on the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday.

Mysterious celestial lights that streaked across the Southern California sky stunned locals and onlookers. According to New York Post, the light show was visible from Sacramento to San Diego around 1:30 am (local time) on Tuesday. People soon started to post about the event, some even shared videos, claiming it could be a meteor shower or UFOs passing by. But experts ultimately determined that it was nothing more than the remnants of a Chinese spacecraft re-entering the atmosphere, the outlet further said.

The confirmation was posted on X (formerly Twitter) by astrophysicist and satellite tracker Jonathan McDowell and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute. They said the objects in the sky were the remains of the Chinese Shenzhou 15 orbital module.

Shenzhou 15 was launched in November 2022 to take three astronauts to the Tiangong space station on a six-month mission and the module has been floating in space since the launch, according to

But the fireball created by the fall of the module generated a lot of buzz on social media. By Tuesday afternoon, 81 people had reported sightings of the event, according to the American Meteor Society (AMS).

Many of them took to social media to get answers about the origin of the lights.

Speculation ranged from a possible meteor or comet, to debris from the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that took off from Vandenberg Space Force Base Monday evening. But the second theory was dismissed as the SpaceX launch occurred around 7:30 pm (local time), long before the mystery lights appeared.

It had been predicted to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere by Tuesday morning, as per ABC7.