A late-night fireball that lit up the sky Sept. 2 across the Intermountain West and was seen from as far away as New Mexico has been confirmed to have been a Russian satellite.
The Associated Press reports
that eyewitnesses said it appeared that three "rocks" were streaking across the sky at about 10:30 p.m. MDT on Sept. 2, creating red and orange streaks.
Officials now say the object was most probably a piece of a Russian Cosmos 2495 reconnaissance satellite, which sent debris falling over the Rockies. The U.S. Strategic Command confirmed that the Cosmos 2495 had indeed re-entered the atmosphere at the same time.
An astronomer with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics told the AP that there are approximately 98 spy satellites currently in orbit, owned by at least six nations.