While filming a Milky Way photography course for their upcoming Night Photography Week (Sept 12-16), the team from CreativeLive suddenly noticed a huge fireball streaking across the sky – the largest, brightest, and longest that any of them had ever seen. It came from the West over Mt. Whitney in the Sierra mountain range and streaked across the entire night sky to the East, towards Nevada.
Luckily, they had some good equipment to capture it all.
“About 5 minutes after we stopped filming, we heard a significant boom far off into the distance,” they wrote on Facebook. “Experiences like these don’t happen everyday.”
Intrigued by what those film makers could have captured, Resource Travel took the video to Google, to quickly land on the Twitter-account of Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. People had not witnessed a comet, they had watched debris from the first Chang Zheng 7 rocket, launched on June 25, reentering at 04.40 UTC.
So far in 2016 there have been 25 reentries of objects massing 1 ton or more. But objects of 5 ton+ class like this are rare.
— Jonathan McDowell (@planet4589) July 28, 2016
In total, there had been 92 reports relating to a “fireball” seen over six states. Feel free to check out some more footage, but the video CreativeLive was able to capture is by far the cleanest and most stunning.