An unidentified streak of light was seen over Northern California leaving many questioning what they saw moving through the sky late on Wednesday. The bright light lit up the sky after a postponement of a rocket launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The scheduled 5:44 pm launch of the Delta IV Heavy rocket in Southern California was cancelled, leaving many wondering what was in the sky. A representative from Vandenberg Air Force Base had no information about the sight in the sky. Travis Air Force Base also did not have information on the light, but the National Weather Service believed it may have been a meteor, according to a report in the CBS Sacramento.
Though there was not any official confirmation on what caused the light, multiple National Weather Service accounts speculated that it was from a meteor or meteorite. The National Weather Service in Reno said the light appeared to be a meteor or space debris entering the upper atmosphere. Speculation continued online with many asking NASA whether it was a shuttle or part of space debris.
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A spokesman for National Weather Service Eureka – a California-based account – appeared to confirm what the strange object was. He said – simply – “this was a meteor”. Twitter was thrown into a frenzy and people took to social media to describe what they believed to be a mystery light. One user posted: “A bright object hovered, made a loop, and fell in the sky above the ocean in San Francisco. What was that?” A resident told ABC7 News, "It was brighter than a normal cloud, especially at this time of night."
#BREAKING We just talked to @Norad_Northcom They are still investigating the mysterious object in the western skies. They did say there is No threat or danger to the USA or Canada. @nbcbayarea https://t.co/QUv7ibmend pic.twitter.com/2qigs91BTE— John Zuchelli (@tvzuke) December 20, 2018
“It was far too big to be a firework,” said Gus Graves of San Francisco as quoted by CBS SF Bay Area. “I’m thinking it’s some sort of high-tech rocket that they’re working on, possibly? Or aliens. One of the two.”
“I was thinking it was a jet or something,” said Kira Bulger of Oakland. “Like a fighter pilot that was leaving a crazy streak in the sky.” Lick Observatory in San Jose said the bright flash across the sky likely was some type of meteor, and NBC Bay Area Chief Meteorologist Jeff Ranieri affirmed that report, saying it likely was a "meteor fireball or bolide," with a slimmer chance of it being "space junk."
NBC Bay Area reached out to the United States Air Force at NORAD Headquarters at Peterson AFB in Colorado, where officials said they were investigating the reports.