A Chinese rocket streaking across U Sskies has stunned people, who took to social media to post images and videos of the incident. Many in Nevada, Utah and California reported seeing a small fireball flashing across the sky, unaware that it was a Chinese rocket.

The incident took place on the evening of 27 July, and a spokesperson for the US Strategic Command confirmed to the Associated Press that it was in fact that Chinese rocket CZ-7 that had re-entered the earth's atmosphere. Photographer Ian Norman, who was taking pictures of the night sky in Alabama Hills, California, saw the light and thought it was a meteor.

Norman said: "It was really strange to see something that bright. I thought it was just a really big meteor, but it was moving, I had never seen anything like that. It was a cool experience, it was beautiful to see it going across the sky."

The rocket CZ-7 launched from China's Wenchang Satellite Launch Centre on 25 June, with China hailing it as a milestone in its space programme. The rocket launch keeps the Asian superpower on track to place its second space station into orbit in 2016.

Rockets that are launched into orbit often shred components, which then fall back to earth. According to the Aerospace Crop, there have already been 27 re-entries in 2016, and witnesses have reported seeing at least five of these.

In Utah, Matt Holt was playing Pokemon Go outside a public library when he spotted the bright flash of light of the CZ-7. At the time, Holt didn't know that it was a Chinese rocket and that it had been "mysterious" at the time.

"It looked kind of like a meteor, but it was going much slower," Holt told AP. "I didn't feel afraid. I was excited. I was in awe at the science of space."