An unannounced Trident missile test launch from a submarine off the coast of California on Saturday lit up not only the skies, but the phone lines and social media with reports of an unidentified flying object or a meteor, prompting an unusual statement from the military.
"The unusual light show observed (Saturday) night from California and outlying areas was the unannounced launch of an unarmed Trident II (D5) submarine launched ballistic missile. The Trident was launched off of the southern California coast by the submarine USS Kentucky," the Air Force said in a statement.
"The interesting display was caused by the missile's exhaust plume being illuminated at high altitude by the sun's rays after the sun had set for observers on the ground," the Air Force added.
The Navy routinely launches Trident missiles off the California and Florida coasts as part of its testing program, with advance notices only to pilots and mariners.