A strange light in the sky had people across the west coast panicking on Friday night, with at least 130 calls to 911 in Los Angeles alone.
What some feared was the beginning of an alien invasion or a nuclear strike turned out to be a rocket launch by SpaceX.
LA...what the heck is this weird jellyfish thing going across the sky right now!?! pic.twitter.com/TxWfDUMxVd— Jenna Fischer (@jennafischer) December 23, 2017
SpaceX is a privately funded space exploration program headed by Elon Musk, the billionaire CEO of Tesla. Musk hopes to send human beings to colonize the moon and even mars within his lifetime. Many people have chalked this up to a pipe dream, though after last night's light show, they might change their minds.
From California down to Arizona, the distinctly shaped lights shooting across the sky prompted calls to emergency services and local news outlets. People posted on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook speculating on whether they were looking at something extra-terrestrial, or even a foreign threat.
Eventually, everyone calmed down after learning that they were looking at a planned rocket launch. The explanation didn't make the sight any less wondrous, and pictures and videos continued to show up online throughout the night.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk even had some fun with the confusion when he got on Twitter later in the night.
Nuclear alien UFO from North Korea pic.twitter.com/GUIHpKkkp5— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 23, 2017
The Falcon 9 booster, the rocket launched last night, was reused from a mission in June. Like last time, it brought Iridium satellites into orbit, though back then it landed on a platform in the Pacific ocean. This time, after dragging ten more satellites up, it plunged harmlessly into the water.
The launch started at Vandenberg Air Force Base at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, the 18th and final mission for SpaceX this year. It upholds a contract for the burgeoning company to put 75 total satellites. They expect to be finished by the middle of 2018.
The Los Angeles Fire Department had to issue an advisory, informing citizens that the "mysterious light in the sky" was part of a planned rocket launch.