SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket Launch Spawns Glowing Cloud that Some Mistook for Alien Spacecraft

SpaceX’s launch of a Falcon 9 rocket Friday night (Dec. 22) was by all accounts a dazzling sight (and for some, an unsettling one) in the night sky and the photos are simply spectacular.

The launch, which lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, north of Los Angeles, carried 10 Iridium Next communications satellites into orbit just after sunset, leaving a vast glowing plume in its wake as it soared into space on a southward trajectory. [See more of the SpaceX launch photos here]

That glowing cloud sparked thoughts of UFOs for some observers, which they shared on Twitter (SpaceX CEO Elon Musk made a UFO joke, too), and the Los Angeles Fire Department even issued a statement alerting the public that the “mysterious light in the sky”‘ was just a SpaceX rocket launch.

Photographer Erica Kelly Martin captured a stunning view of the launch from Hollywood, California, with the Falcon 9’s second stage streaking spaceward.

In La Jolla, the launch surprised Hany Girgis during a dinner out with friends.

“We had someone in the group that knew it was the SpaceX launch. Otherwise, everyone at the table had no idea what it was,” Girgis, who posted the photo on his Instagram never_unpacking, said in an email. “Everyone there started pulling out their phones and taking video and photos. It was an incredible sight with the sun setting and the palm trees in the background.”

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SOURCE: Tariq Malik
Space.com