Startled residents of southern California and Arizona placed a record number of 911 calls Friday evening after witnessing a strange streak of white light in the sky.
SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch from Vandenberg AFB lights up the Southern CA sky. pic.twitter.com/bCg6Bmx2dM
— Corona Police Dept. (@CoronaPD) December 23, 2017
— Burbank Police (@BurbankPD) December 23, 2017
Hundreds of people who witnessed the spectacle told local television news stations and law enforcement that the white light appeared to resemble a fish shape.
In Los Angeles County alone, more than 130 people called 911 to report the phenomenon, as speculation about the light’s source reached its peak.
Some people said the mysterious light could be the sign of a UFO or alien species, while others thought the light signaled a potential nuclear strike from North Korea.
Law enforcement officials informed residents that the light originated from a SpaceX rocket launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base in central California.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk confirmed the launch with a tongue-in-cheek tweet, posting a video of the rocket launch with the caption,”Nuclear alien UFO from North Korea”:
Nuclear alien UFO from North Korea pic.twitter.com/GUIHpKkkp5
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 23, 2017
Vandenberg Air Force Base announced the launch earlier in the week, stating that the SpaceX rocket would launch at 5:47 p.m. PST Friday from Space Launch Complex 4.
Vandenberg’s website also noted that the rocket launch “could be visible over a wide area.”
The SpaceX launch was Vandenberg’s final rocket launch of 2017, which officials deemed to be successful.