A mysterious light streaked over the skies of Northern California Wednesday night, and viewers are wondering if they saw a meteor, a spacecraft launch, or something even more nefarious, such as an invading alien spacecraft, KGO-TV (San Francisco) is reporting.
At about 5:30 p.m. local time, while many Bay Area commuters were on their way home from work, witness Bryan Louie noticed the strange light.
“It was brighter than a normal cloud, especially at this time of night.”
And then, afterward, the debris cloud left behind took on a weird shape.
“It looked kind of like a key almost.”
Aparna Sarma said the resulting cloud formation was so strange that at first, they thought they were seeing a leftover skywriting formation.
“I thought somebody was trying to spell something out in the sky, but I couldn’t read what it was. So, I just moved on with the rest of my night.”
Elizabeth Matuzak, however, thinks aliens visited the Bay Area Wednesday night.
“I’m definitely a big believer in UFO phenomenon. I definitely think it’s a UFO.”
So what was it?
It Probably Wasn’t An Alien Spacecraft
To be fair, there’s no way to say with 100 percent certainty that an alien spacecraft didn’t visit the San Francisco area Wednesday evening, but Occam’s Razor teaches that the most logical and least-elaborate solution to a problem is usually the right one. And there are more logical and less-elaborate explanations than alien spacecraft (viz, the next two paragraphs).
It Probably Wasn’t A Military Launch, Either
The Bay Area is home to a few military bases, and a handful of others are within a few hundred miles – well within visual range should they launch a missile into the sky.
They did not.
As KOVR-TV (Sacramento) reports, Vandenberg Air Force Base had indeed planned to launch a Delta IV Heavy rocket Wednesday night, but for reasons that remain unclear, that was scrubbed. Similarly, launches planned for Wednesday at other military bases were either scrubbed or took place outside of California – well outside of visibility range for Californians.
Vanderberg launch of a Delta 4-Heavy rocket was scrubbed tonight - so whatever this is in the Sacramento sky, is not that. Also being seen in the Bay Area. pic.twitter.com/Wexkes7sNU— Randol White (@RandolWhite) December 20, 2018
Similarly, a planned SpaceX launch was also scrubbed for reasons that remain unclear.
It Was Almost Certainly A Meteor
People who get paid to figure things like this out say that it was a bolide meteor – that is, a meteor that explodes in the atmosphere.
Still not 100% certain, but evidence is growing the object seen was a meteor. A meteor can create a very high level cloud called a noctilucent cloud. @NASA has a great webpage explaining the cloud formation. https://t.co/eDquECamLl #cawx— NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) December 20, 2018
Scientists at observatories in the Bay Area and in Southern California, as well as the National Weather Service itself, all say with near certainty that whatever lit up the skies over the Bay Area Wednesday night was a meteor that exploded in the atmosphere.