A mysterious light that rocketed across hundreds of miles of Southern California's sky Saturday night sparked fear among some, excitement among others, that they were witness to an unidentified flying object or possibly a comet. Law enforcement agencies were reportedly flooded with calls reporting the sightings, and thousands of people around the world tweeted out the captivating images and videos from California.
A Navy representative told the San Diego Union-Tribune that the lights were part of a routine Trident missile test-fire. Still, skeptics remained. “I’m not 100 percent convinced I know what happened -- no matter what news channels are saying. I’m kind of remaining skeptical because we were there, and it was crazy,” a video blogger, Julien Solomita, who witnessed the event, told the LA Times.
— BloomSky (@bloomsky) November 8, 2015
Tens of thousands of Americans have reported seeing UFOs over the decades. Here are some facts you should know about Saturday night’s reports.
1. UFO scares are a downside of military secrecy. The Trident II missile, which the Navy said was responsible for Saturday night's scare, is a weapon meant to deter nuclear attacks. Military experts likely kept the test quiet to prevent other countries, namely Russia and China, from learning about the technology. Tracking it in real time could provide insight into its vulnerabilities, a military analyst told the Los Angeles Times. Of course, prompting scares of alien invasions and having videos of the missile test go viral might be the silver lining of keeping the public in the dark.
2. It shouldn’t be a surprise Saturday night’s UFO scare was in California. Either UFOs really love the Golden State or it’s just a prime location for covert military testing. Since the 1950s, 11,092 UFO sightings have been reported in California, making it the No. 1 spot for UFO sightings in the country, USA Today reported. Florida, with some 5,017 sightings, had the second-highest number of reported cases, based on statistics gathered from the National UFO Reporting Center.
3. Like the sighting in California, most UFO sightings can be explained. But not all of them. The U.S. government has compiled some 136,000 pages worth of declassified UFO records, known as Project Blue Book. They’re now available online, and the project was meant to investigate sightings of strange phenomena from 1947-1969. Many of the sightings were attributed to air traffic, others to Mother Nature. But many of the sightings -- about 700 -- remain “unidentified.”