Experts said streaks seen in the sky over Montana were most likely from a piece of an old Russian rocket returning to Earth.
Witnesses captured video and photos about 10 p.m. Tuesday, when flaming objects streaked across the sky over Montana and were seen as far away as Idaho, Wyoming and Oregon.
Researchers with SpaceWeather.com said the streaks were most likely space junk — specifically the fuel tank from a Russian rocket.
“Shortly before the explosion over Montana, the U.S. Department of Defense Space Track website issued a Trajectory Impact Prediction message for an object,” the website said.
The object, a Breeze-M fuel tank, was part of Russia’s Yamal 402 geostationary communications satellite. The tank has been orbiting since the Dec. 8, 2012, launch, SpaceWeather.com said.
Ryan Hannahoe, executive director of the Montana Learning Center at Canyon Ferry, said there were no reports of fuel tank pieces making landfall, indicating it completely burned up in the atmosphere.