Late Friday, social media blew up over pictures of strange glowing objects in the sky in southern California.

It was visible as far as Phoenix, and perhaps farther:

I became aware of it when the house full of people I’m in went outside, then came back in to get me to go outside and look:

Here’s our own Matt Clapp, who had an oceanside view from, well, Oceanside:

It turns out most people just hadn’t realized tonight was the final SpaceX launch of the year, with a Falcon 9 rocket launching from Vandenberg AFB.

People freaked out, perhaps primed by the recent¬†New York Times piece covering the existence of a secret government UFO research program that, frankly, hasn’t received nearly as much coverage as it should have, given the contents therein. Or more likely it was thanks to the recent news that North Korea is building a weapon capable of reaching the west coast of the United States.

Most likely, they were just caught by surprise, and by good a look they had thanks to the super-clear visibility tonight in southern California.

(My picture was from a few minutes after the good stuff, with the rocket exhaust still hanging and swirling in the reflected moonlight. Also it’s 56 degrees on December 22nd, I might never go back to Indiana.)

So, in conclusion: tonight was not aliens. Still really cool, though.

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.