THE mysterious flashing fireballs spotted flashing across the sky in parts of the United States may actually have been a Russian rocket, experts have claimed.

The celestial shower rained down on Tuesday evening – but some meteor specialists have pointed out that the otherworldly sighting may be pieces of an old fuel tank.



The American Meteor Society documented 29 reports of falling fireballs that started flying through the sky at about 10pm.

Residents in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Oregon recorded the surreal experience.

One Montana resident said she thought the movement was a plane until it flashed several times and exploded into pieces, NBC Montana reported.

"The white clouds and vapor trail were still visible almost 15 minutes later," NBC reported.

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The American Meteor Society received three videos and six photos of the wild event.

The objects were no meteor, however.

"This may have been the fuel tank of an old Russian rocket," Spaceweather.com reported.

"Shortly before the explosion over Montana, the US Department of Defense Space Track website issued a Trajectory Impact Prediction (TIP) message for an object called 'BREEZE-M DEB (TANK.)'"

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The space track website predicted that a fuel tank would fall into Earth's atmosphere around the same time sightings were reported in the US.

The fuel tank had been orbiting the Earth for nearly 10 years, Spaceweather.com reported.

"It was part of a rocket that launched Russia's Yamal 402 geostationary communications satellite on Dec. 8th, 2012," the website reads.

"Recent increases in solar activity accelerated its orbital decay, finally bringing it down in a fiery display."

Montana viewings were prevalent in Bitterroot Valley, Livingston and Park counties, Great Falls, Lincoln, Helena, and Pray, according to the American Meteor Society.

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Idaho residents reported sightings in Stanley, Idaho Falls, Rexburg, Twin Falls, and Shelley.

There were also reports as far east as Oregon.

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