Dec 23, 2018 I Brett Tingley

Mysterious Lights in the California Sky and a Secretive Spy Satellite Launch

The anomalous sights and sounds in Americas skies continue this week as a strange light appeared in the air over California, prompting the Air Force to cancel a rocket launch and thoroughly freaking out Californians. According to local news reports, the light appeared at around 5:30 p.m. local time and persisted for several seconds. Dozens of motorists and residents caught the strange streak on camera, blowing up social media with posts of the curious apparition.

NORAD immediately announced they were investigating the event, while the National Weather Service released a statement proposing that the light was a unique atmospheric phenomenon known as a noctilucent cloud. These cloudlike formations are caused by ice crystals and dust particles left behind by rocket launches, aircraft activity, or meteor explosions in the upper atmosphere. At dusk, the low angle of the sun can illuminate these streaks and create the breathtaking phenomena similar to what was seen above California.

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Noctilucent clouds left behind by a SpaceX launch.

While the streak was certainly similar in appearance to a meteor impact or space debris burning up in the atmosphere, the coincidental timing with a nearby rocket launch is somewhat odd. The U.S. Air Force and United Launch Alliance were set to launch a Delta IV rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base at the exact same time the lights appeared over California. That rocket was supposed to carry an undisclosed spy satellite into orbit - a spy satellite that has been delayed on three previous launch attempts.

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A SpaceX Falcon launching from Vandenberg AFB in 2017.

ULA says the launch was scrubbed due to a hydrogen leak in one of the fuel tanks, but something about the timing of these two events is just a bit too coincidental. With all of the intrigue and chest-thumping going on in space right now, there’s no telling if the lights were part of some sort of sabotage or surveillance attempt by a rival state or non-state actor. On the other hand, could the Air Force have tried to say this launch was cancelled when it in fact put another eye in the sky?

Of course, it very likely could have been exactly what the National Weather Service said it was. Several other events suggesting meteor impacts have occurred in California lately, although the verdict is still out on some of those too. I’ve been saying for a while now that all of the mysterious booms and recent suspicious satellite activity are likely related; could this incident be another hint that a shadow space war is already being waged?

Brett Tingley

Brett Tingley is a writer and musician living in the ancient Appalachian mountains.

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