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WASHINGTON - The flashing lights and booming sounds that were attributed to a piece of orbiting space junk were not the result of a man-made object, according to the United States Air Force.
In an e-mail sent to WTOP, Stefan Bocchino of the USAF Joint Space Operations Center says the "bright light" seen over parts of the East Coast Sunday night was not a result of a man-made space object.
The Joint Space Operations Center tracks more than 19,000 man-made objects in space, but no natural phenomena.
It was first believed that the lights and sounds were caused by space junk related to the Russian rocket Soyuz docking with the International Space Stations Saturday.
Geoff Chester, spokesman for the U.S. Naval Observatory, was nearly sure the object was the rocket's booster tanks for numbers of reasons. Whatever flashed through the sky followed the exact path the space junk was traveling over the eastern seaboard.
Witnesses describe the flashes in the sky as being colored with yellows and oranges. While fireballs usually throw sparks that appear green followed by trains of blue and red. The loud explosion accompanying the balls of fire in the sky also could be explained if the object was a rocket tank with residual amounts of booster fuel.