CAUGHT ON VIDEO: Space junk burns up over California

Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 8:37 AM CDT
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CNN) - An impressive light show over Northern California was captured on video on Friday.

It might look like a scene from an end-of-days film about Earth-killing comets, but those aren’t meteors from outer space.

They’re blazing chunks of communications equipment from the International Space Station, streaming across the night sky at 17,000 mph.

The 700-pound communications antenna went into space in 2009. In February 2020, the ISS discarded the equipment.

The debris orbited the Earth for a couple of years and finally got low enough to break apart and burn up.

According to astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell, about 10% of such equipment might fall to Earth in small pieces with the rest melting off on the way down.