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On Friday, Musk’s SpaceX launched its Falcon 9 rocket, carrying 10 satellites from Iridium NEXT Communications into low-Earth orbit, according to the Daily Breeze. With clear skies, the launch, taking place at the Vandenberg Air Force Base 150 miles north of Los Angeles, could be seen from as far away as San Diego, another 120 miles south of L.A.
What resulted was a bulbous, ethereal white plume in the night sky shortly after 5:27pm PT—and plenty of concern from Californians who had no idea what the hell they were watching.
“We got quite a few concerned calls with people saying there’s a light in the sky,” Sgt. Paul Kranke of the Torrance Police Department told the Daily Breeze. “We didn’t know what it was but, fortunately, someone at work follows rocket launches and we were able to tell people what it was.”
The Riverside City Fire Department also reported receiving several calls of “something exploding in the sky.”
Of course, the hysteria only grew on social media, with onlookers questioning whether they were watching an alien invasion unfold, part of a movie scene, or something more sinister.
What did I just witness?? pic.twitter.com/JsHfqTsxm0— Danny United (@dannyunited) December 23, 2017
Trippiest thing I have ever seen in the sky west of me just now. Smoke. A light pulling another light. What in the hell is going on? pic.twitter.com/iAf24OsIrH— Ralph Amsden (@ralphamsden) December 23, 2017
I just seen this light in the sky in the OC area. What is it???? pic.twitter.com/SQLRfqQIcu— alicia (@aliciaxaliciaa) December 23, 2017
“Are we about to die?…Is it being controlled or is it out of control?” a chilled voice asks in the background of this clip.
Even Musk fanned the panicked flames, suggesting it was a “nuclear alien UFO from North Korea.” In the video Musk shared, frantic voices ask and tell others to “go to Twitter” to see what’s happening.
Nuclear alien UFO from North Korea pic.twitter.com/GUIHpKkkp5— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 23, 2017
Don’t worry folks—the world isn’t ending… yet.
Watch the entire SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch below:
H/T Business Insider
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.