Luminous objects flying above California are creating a stir as people try to guess what they are. The lights began to appear at 9:30 pm local time on Saturday and were seen for less than 45 seconds, according to Gulf Today.
Meteor? Alien? China? Seen from Sacramento @kcranews @GoodDaySac pic.twitter.com/rO7amxAREh— Aaron Gleason (@aye_ay_ron) March 18, 2023
Astronomer Jonathon McDowell, from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said that the lights were likely space junk, most like Object 45265 he specified.
McDowell notes that the junk has been orbiting the earth for the last three years.
McDowell estimates that the trash is 40 miles high and traveling 1000s of miles an hour.
After the initial assessment made by Dowell, the US Space Force confirmed that the junk had re-entered the earth's atmosphere above California.
Space pollution is a growing concern
Sarthak Raval, from the Campus Center for the Environment, published a piece stating that "The atmosphere is polluted with thousands of objects, no different than all the pollutants dumped in our oceans."
Raval stressed the potential consequences of the trash, adding "Orbiting junk presents a worrying problem where it can smash into functioning satellites and split into smaller pieces, creating more potential damage, and results in a ripple effect."