Another anomaly in the skies above the United States had people taking to social media in search of answers on Friday, this time asking for some explanation for the spectacular light show in the skies over Southern California. After the recent revelation that the Pentagon has been investigating military UFO reports, one might not blame them for assuming the explanation for Friday night’s lights was “out of this world;” the thing is, they weren’t from outer space… they were headed there.
The light show was actually caused by SpaceX’s final launch of the year, a Falcon 9 carrying 10 Iridium Next communications satellites into orbit. The launch itself took place at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base north of Los Angeles just about 30 minutes after sunset.
The real show began, however, a bit after launch, when the rocket’s first stage separated from its second, producing a dramatic light show that you could be forgiven for thinking must be an alien creation. In fact, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk himself took to Twitter to poke a bit of fun at the social media response to the launch.
Nuclear alien UFO from North Korea pic.twitter.com/GUIHpKkkp5
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 23, 2017
Although Musk may have been being a bit snarky in his tweet, a number of California residents, including famous professional skater, Tony Hawk, celebrity space cadet Jaden Smith, and Grammy award-winning musician Will.I.Am all posted pictures and videos on Twitter and Instagram asking if anyone knew what they were looking at.
Does anyone know what we just saw in the skies above San Diego? pic.twitter.com/EFNBh87Hc8
— Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) December 23, 2017
Wtf Is This pic.twitter.com/vF4fSyRHOG
— Jaden Smith (@officialjaden) December 23, 2017
What is this in the sky? pic.twitter.com/pjcp2MlH4v
— will.i.am (@iamwill) December 23, 2017
It didn’t take long for some of Twitter’s space-fans to chime in and shed some light on the mystery, though in classic Twitter form, many seem intent on disregarding SpaceX’s own statements in favor of a conclusion they would prefer.
As dramatic as Friday night’s show in Southern California was, Musk took to Twitter again on Friday night to remind the world that January’s anticipated launch of the Falcon Heavy, the most powerful rocket in use on the planet, will be even more spectacular. The Falcon Heavy houses three Falcon 9 rockets like the one seen on Friday night, which Musk was keen to remind us means “3x the thrust.”
What should make the Falcon Heavy an even better show, however, is that, according to Musk, two of the first stage rockets are designed to do “synchronized aerobatics” as they return to earth for reuse, with the third separating from the group to land on a drone ship.
The Falcon Heavy is expected to undergo static fire testing at its Cape Canaveral facility within the next week or so.
You can watch SpaceX’s Friday night launch in full below:
Image courtesy of Twitter