Initial speculations of what this could have been began to pour onto social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Some of the most popular guesses included meteor, rocket ship, and missile. Not surprisingly, however, the most popular speculation was that this object was a UFO due in part to popular culture’s playful obsession with aliens and UFOs. In all actuality, we’re thinking not too many people actually thought we were being visited by aliens.
So what actually was it?
Unfortunately, extra terrestrial life was not finally trying to contact us. The mysterious light in the sky was only a test launch of an unarmed Trident II (D5) missile fired from a Navy submarine off of the coast of Southern California. This type of missile, according to a report form the Los Angeles Times, is central in the defense against an attack by a nuclear weapon.*
The reason that no one had any warning is because these types of tests are top secret in order to deter any enemy forces from monitoring the launches and gaining intelligence on US defense mechanisms. Nuclear deterrence is a top priority for the Navy and they have been conducting successful test launches like the one Saturday since 1989.**
The Military released this statement to the LA Times in response to the public outcry:
‘”The tests were part of a scheduled, ongoing system evaluation test. Launches are conducted on a frequent, recurring basis to ensure the continued reliability of the system. Each test activity provides valuable information about our systems, thus contributing to assurance in our capabilities,” a spokesman told the Los Angeles Times. “The missile was not armed. Strategic Systems Programs does not routinely announce missile testing. Information regarding the test launch of Trident II (D5) missiles is classified prior to the launch.”’*
Maybe next time it will be a UFO!