Unexplained Light Trails Spotted in California’s Sky

Mysterious streaks of light seen in the sky over California

Mysterious Streaks of Light Seen Over Sacramento Area on St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day revelers in the Sacramento area were left stunned on Friday night as mysterious streaks of light appeared in the sky. Many took to social media to post videos of the unusual sight, which lasted for about 40 seconds.

Jaime Hernandez, who was celebrating behind the King Cong Brewing Company, quickly grabbed his camera when he noticed the lights. “Mainly, we were in shock, but amazed that we got to witness it,” he said.

The brewery owner posted Hernandez’s video on Instagram, asking people to solve the mystery. And Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, says he can.

McDowell told the Associated Press that he’s “99.9% confident the streaks of light were from burning space debris.” According to McDowell, a Japanese communications package from the International Space Station was jettisoned in 2020, weighing 310 kilograms.

The debris burned up in the Earth’s atmosphere, creating a “spectacular light show,” McDowell said. The timing and location of the re-entry path over California is consistent with what people saw in the sky.

The U.S. Space Force confirmed the re-entry path for the Inter-Orbit Communication System, but has not yet responded to questions about the mysterious streaks of light.