For conspiracy theorists and flying saucer aficionados, it’s quite the time to be alive.
Photos and videos quickly made the rounds on social media Friday evening showing a remarkable streak of light appearing in the sky above Los Angeles. Words like “crazy” and “freaky” were immediately thrown around online, and in the minds of many spectators, aliens were finally descending upon us earthlings.
British tabloid the Daily Mirror claimed that the event “brought traffic to a standstill.”
The light even caught the eye of billionaire and Tesla founder Elon Musk, who tweeted a brief video of the event with his explanation in the caption: “Nuclear alien UFO from North Korea.”
Sad news for those who wish the aliens would just visit us already, Friday’s spectacle was none of those things; it was a reused rocket by Musk’s SpaceX, which carried 10 satellites into space after lifting off from Vandenberg Air Force Base around 5:30 p.m. The Falcon 9 booster that launched it was responsible for the mysterious-looking trail in the sky.
Naturally, Musk took the opportunity to joke around with his nearly 17 million Twitter followers.
Nonetheless, it’s no surprise the light show grabbed the internet’s attention. Video of unusual happenings in the night sky are of the highest resolution they’ve ever been, and are easier than ever to post online. Not to mention Friday’s event could reportedly be seen from as far as away as Phoenix.
UFO fascination has re-entered the spotlight in recent days. Last weekend, footage captured by U.S. Navy jets showing unidentified, Tic-Tac shaped objects flying erratically were released to the public, and the existence of the “Advanced Aviation Threat Identification” program, apparently around since 2007, was confirmed for the first time. Indeed, a story on the front page of last Sunday’s New York Times acknowledged that the Pentagon spent $22 million investigating UFOs between 2007 and 2012, further spurring talks that “we may not be alone.”
As for Musk, why troll the internet like that? Well, he had tweeted what is perhaps his simple answer to that rhetorical question on Thursday: