What was up with that weird light in the sky?

Assumed to be either a UFO to a multicolored meteor, viewers from Los Angeles to Phoenix were left scratching their heads after a weird light lit up the western sky Saturday night.

Eddy Hartenstein/Los Angeles Times/AP
A light from a Navy unarmed missile is seen over Thousand Oaks, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015. The Navy fired an unarmed missile from a submarine off the coast of Southern California on Saturday, creating a bright light that streaked across the state and was visible as far away as Nevada and Arizona.

On Saturday at about 6 p.m., law enforcement and media outlets were flooded with calls reporting a mysterious light streaking across the Southern California sky, making some suspect nuclear war, an unexpected comet, or even an alien invasion.

But the light was none of these things, a Navy spokesman told The San Diego Union-Tribune. Cmdr. Ryan Perry with the Navy’s Third Fleet told the Union-Tribune that the light can be attributed to a routine, unarmed Trident missile test-fire by the Navy.

“The tests were a part of a scheduled, ongoing system evaluation test,” the Pentagon said in a statement. “Launches are conducted on a frequent, recurring basis to ensure the continued reliability of they system. Each test activity provides valuable information about our systems, thus contributing to assurance in our capabilities.”

The Trident II (D5) missile test was conducted from the USS Kentucky, a ballistic missile submarine in the Pacific Test Range, off the Southern California coast.

And the Navy says all missile tests are unexpected to the public because information regarding test launches is classified prior to testing.

But viewers from across California, Nevada, Colorado and Arizona say they were confused because the light was unlike anything they had ever seen.

“I’m like it’s not a firework, it’s not a falling star, it’s not the moon…I don’t know what it was…but it was coolest thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” skywatcher Jessica Blecker told NBC7.

“It was very wild watching this in the sky,” Julien Solomita, who documented the strange light, told the Associated Press. “I can’t really say what I thought it was because I’ve never experienced anything remotely close to it.”

Actress Lena Dunham, creator and star of the HBO show ‘Girls,’ posted a video of the light on her Instagram account and joked, “Was I abducted?

Many excited viewers thought the light was part of the annual Taurid meteor shower. But UC San Diego astrophysicist Brian Keating dismissed this possibility to The San Diego Union-Tribune, noting that the the light was coming from the west, whereas Taurid meteors come from the east. “We’d also be more likely to see meteors about midnight, and the flash came near sunset,” he added.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has confirmed that “nighttime flights into and out of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) will avoid passing over the Pacific Ocean just to the west of the airport” beginning Friday night through Thursday night because the US military has officially activated the local airspace.

Nighttime flights going in and out of LAX typically use a flight path over the Pacific to avoid disrupting local Los Angeles neighborhoods. Neither the FAA nor LAX have confirmed if Saturday’s missile test is related to the military’s airspace activation.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to What was up with that weird light in the sky?
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today