July 28, 2016 8:20 AM EDT

Many across the western U.S. who glanced up Wednesday night saw fiery streaks shoot across the sky, and experts said it was remnants from a rocket China launched in June.

The debris passed over parts of California, Colorado, Nevada, Utah and Idaho, and prompted a number of social media posts of people asking about the meteor-like occurrence. Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center, told the Los Angeles Times that the debris was part of the Long March 7 Rocket that China launched on June 25.

McDowell said the rocket reentered over Utah around 9:40 p.m., and that the main body will likely have melted so that only a few small pieces of metal would reach the ground.

The rocket itself marked a new stage in China’s rocketry programs, McDowell said.

[LA Times]

Write to Julia Zorthian at julia.zorthian@time.com.

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