UPDATE: A NASA scientist says he's convinced that a brilliant light seen darting across the Southwest night sky was most likely a piece of asteroid that entered Earth's atmosphere.
Scores of people from Southern California to Arizona saw the light hurtle quickly from west to east at around 7:45 Wednesday night.
NASA Near-Earth Object Program manager Don Yeomans said he was convinced it was a fireball -- a fragment of an asteroid the size of a baseball or basketball that hit the atmosphere and disintegrated before reaching the ground.
He says it's unusual for an object of that size to be seen over populated areas.
Yeomans ruled out a dead spacecraft falling back to Earth because such events can be predicted ahead of time.
Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
ORIGINAL STORY: A mystery light that ripped across the Valley's western skyline had witnesses lighting up telephone switchboards wondering what they saw Wednesday night.
CBS 5 received a slew of calls from viewers looking for an explanation. Angie Wendling said it was like a "shooting star." Many people described it as a bluish-green light.
Madeline Mattlich said it was traveling north to south. Another viewer wrote in a Facebook post, "I was just on the sofa and it really caught my eye."
Resident Geneva Ward said, "I thought it was lightning but it went horizontal."
One viewer, Jazziette Devereaux, a former KFNX radio talk show host, sent CBS 5 an artist's rendering of what the mysterious light in the sky looked like over Scottsdale at 7:45 p.m.
Angie Wendling, who lives in the far northwest valley, said she was "kind of freaked out a little." She said what she was a blue and purple light, streaking across the sky. The colors then faded to a reddish-orange.
The National Weather Service said it wasn't a weather event. NWS meteorologists said they were at a loss. They said there have been sightings all the way to Los Angeles.
"My hubby was outside," said Stephanie Scovell in a Facebook post. "He said it was like a meteor burning up."
Another viewer said he thought it was an American satellite that was falling out of orbit and breaking apart.
Skynews.com reported there has been recent concern at NASA about a dead satellite that would likely fall to Earth sometime between late September and October. The web site said the satellite ran out of fuel in 2005.
After the famous "Phoenix Lights" incident, people in the Valley like keeping their eyes glued to the skies.
In March 1997, a series of lights hovered over the Valley. Eyewitnesses reported seeing a massive black craft overhead. The National Guard eventually came out years later saying the lights were flares.
Sunday, May 19 2013 1:01 AM EDT2013-05-19 05:01:02 GMT
Crash victim Juan Rodriguez with his fiance Amanda Lujan.
You hear a lot about deadly accidents involving motorcycles A Valley couple wants to share their story in hopes drivers will pay more attention to bikers on the road. "The fourth of July, Juan proposed,More >
You hear a lot about deadly accidents involving motorcycles. A Valley couple wants to share their story in hopes drivers will pay more attention to bikers on the road.More >
Sunday, May 19 2013 10:54 AM EDT2013-05-19 14:54:18 GMT
Scottsdale police say a body found in a canal has been identified as a man who was reported missing after he failed to return from a bicycle ride earlier this week. A police officer discovered the bodyMore >
A police officer discovered the body of 78-year-old Edward Allan Brawley on Saturday morning near Hayden Road and Indian Bend.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >
Tuesday, May 14 2013 8:25 PM EDT2013-05-15 00:25:14 GMT
Amy's Baking Company was featured on Kitchen Nightmares season finale, and let's just say things didn't go well. For the first time in the show's history it's host, Gordon Ramsay walked away. The showMore >
Scottsdale restaurant owners made a big splash on national television for being impossible to work with, and now it appears they've taken their bad attitudes to the internet. Or have they?More >
Sunday, May 19 2013 4:04 PM EDT2013-05-19 20:04:42 GMT
2 Phoenix first responders killed
A 23-year-old firefighter is in surgery at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix. Officials told CBS 5 he is in extremely critical condition after being crushed between two fire vehicles. The firefighter wasMore >
"I ask every citizen on this tragic day to pray for the families and the safety of our officers and safety of our firefighters," Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said Sunday morning.More >
Saturday, May 18 2013 11:06 PM EDT2013-05-19 03:06:03 GMT
The mayor of Phoenix is calling Groceries for Guns the largest buyback program in state history. In fact, Greg Stanton said nearly 2,000 guns are now off the street and unable to fall into the hands ofMore >
The mayor of Phoenix is calling Groceries for Guns the largest buyback program in state history. In fact, Greg Stanton said nearly 2,000 guns are now off the street and unable to fall into the hands of criminals.More >
Wednesday, May 15 2013 2:57 PM EDT2013-05-15 18:57:11 GMT
The old saying goes, "If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen." Perhaps, this applies to Kitchen Nightmares, as well. An Arizona bakery was featured on Friday's episode of the Gordon RamseyMore >
The old saying goes, "If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen." Perhaps, this applies to Kitchen Nightmares, as well.More >