Officials from Nellis Air Force Base in southern Nevada tell KTNV-TV that the light seen Wednesday night was a meteor breaking up.
Dr. Ed Krupp, director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, tells KABC-TV it may have been a meteor from the Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower, which is peaking on Wednesday night.
But the official Twitter account of the National Weather Service out of Salt Lake City stated that the light was caused by "space junk."
Correction, the object in question was not a meteor but rather a piece of "space junk." https://t.co/iJkQtddAG6— NWS Salt Lake City (@NWSSaltLakeCity) July 28, 2016
Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said observations from Utah indicated it was part of a Chinese rocket reentering the atmosphere.
Observation reports from Utah indicate the second stage from the first Chang Zheng 7 rocket, launched Jun 25, reentered at 0440 UTC— Jonathan McDowell (@planet4589) July 28, 2016
McDowell later said multiple agencies confirmed the light was caused by the Chang Zheng 7 rocket.
People were tweeting photos and videos of the small fiery dot in the sky from northern and southern California as well as Nevada and Utah.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.