CALIFORNIAN police have been inundated with calls as terrified Americans watched a bright light travel swiftly across the night sky before exploding.

The bright white light was thought by some panicked viewers to be the work of aliens.

Others figures it was some kind of unusual meteorite.

While you might expect a US military response dismissing the evidence - particularly if you're a sci-fi fan or Area 51 believer - but officials were forthright. It was a missile exploding.
 

The bright light caught by sky watchers on the coast of southern California in the United States
The bright light caught by sky watchers on the coast of southern California in the United States

The trail of light across the Californian sky was from an unarmed missile fired by the USS Kentucky, a ballistic missile submarine.

According to the Pentagon:

"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."

Witness Matt McKee told CNN it looked like "a gold shooting star".

"It went from gold and small, burning for a few minutes and turned into this blue spot light. Like at an event held at night -- not like shooting out at us, but a white bright light," he said.

"What was weird, the tail was light and wide and it got bluer and bluer. Then it just burned out and went away."



NRL legend is set for his next chapter

premium_icon NRL legend is set for his next chapter

Thurston talks to the NewsMail about life after football

Controversial 1770 development decision spurs robust debate

premium_icon Controversial 1770 development decision spurs robust debate

Councillors vote to approve 1770 development despite reservations.

Local Partners