Strange light spotted over California, Utah prompts social media frenzy; officials say source is ‘Naval test fire’

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LOS ANGELES — Multiple witnesses on Saturday evening reported seeing an unexplained light in the skies above Southern California, and there were several reported sightings across Utah as well. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department now reports the light is from a “Naval test fire off the coast.”

KTLA reports that a Navy spokesman told the San Diego Union-Tribune that the luminous object was an unarmed Trident missile that was test-fired from a submarine off the coast of Southern California.

Cmdr. Ryan Perry, of the Navy’s Third Fleet, said the Trident II (D5) was launched as scheduled by an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine in the Pacific Test Range, the Union-Tribune reported.

Residents reported seeing the bright phenomenon in Anaheim, Temecula, Rancho Palos Verdes and Santa Monica.  Locally, FOX 13 News viewers in southern Utah reported seeing the light in the sky as well. Viewers in places like Lehi, Milford, Price, Springville and Hurricane also reported seeing the phenomenon.

Hundreds of photos and videos have been shared on social media, including in the comments of FOX 13’s post about the sightings.

KTLA reached out to local authorities to identify the object.

Prior to the revelation from the Navy, several speculated that the object may have been a rocket or comet.


  • Danny trujillo

    If it was a missle how come there was 4 big military looking planes in a square formation going in the same direction 4 minutes after the light disappered

    • Joanne

      It was an unarmed Trident missile and I don’t think it’s weird at all that there would be military planes in the area.

  • Stephanie Neira

    There is still military planes flying around in circles over our house here in Castroville, Ca. What we seen was not a comet or missile launch from LA

  • Samuel Frausto

    It was not a missle, 10-15 minutes before this happen there was 4 military helicopters flyin above upland/Montclair Cali. They came by twice and then broke formation and went different ways. After the “missle/comet” went by another set of military planes started to fly by towards the location the object went to. Then the helicopters “4” started to show up heading the same direction.

  • Candeebee13

    If it were a missile, how did it skip Nevada? It went from California to Utah. My husband saw this in Utah…

  • Heather

    I saw thih my own two eyes tonight. I live in North Phoenix Arizona. There is no way this thing was a missile or comment. It was there, it stood still and it vanished. I was standing at a Street light waiting to cross the street. I wish I would have taken a picture of it. But I couldn’t figure out what the heck I was looking at. At first I thought it was a helicopter looking for somebody in the neighborhood. I couldn’t figure out why it was so foggy . I would like to see them explain this.

  • alex

    If this was a military test, the proper way to go about it would be to notify local law enforcement and news stations and give them prior knowledge to minimize public alarm. Obviously after the light was shown the military claimed it was them, why not before? Because this was no test. Why would military planes and helicopters be needed to watch a military test?

  • Amanda

    I saw the glow over here in northwestern Colorado! Freaked me out! I tried getting video but phone wouldn’t work.

  • Cynthia Moreno

    If it was a missile, then why was it flying all over the place. It was in southern California, northern California, Utah, Arizona, etc….

  • Chris

    Sitting in a hot tub in park City Utah Saturday night I saw the brightest shooting star I’ve ever seen with a bright yellow tracer following it……maybe it was this missile

    • Chris

      Thinking about it now there was 4 unidentified aircraft in the area just prior to seeing this. Now I am an aircraft mechanic so I know the distinctive green and red strobe of any aircraft over us soil as per faa regs. However I cannot identify the aircraft seen just prior ….seemed too fast to be commercial from slc international but too slow to be anything from hill air force base….strange

  • Joanne

    It was pretty obvious in a couple of photos I saw that it was a missile. There were military planes in the area also.. testing I would imagine.

  • FallenJackel

    I Was near the power plant near the bookcliffs at work when I watched it take off not a mile from my location and was flying fast enough to be completely out of sight in just 5 minutes headed in a northwest trajectory.

  • Jake

    Saw it when we were getting back to the truck from hunting. Central Idaho…. 800 miles from California where the missile was supposedly launched. Seems odd to me.

  • Papabear37

    i seen this light as i was walking out of circle K on camel back and 59th ave i seen a big white light like a police helicoper serching for something it scanded a hole area wider than the west valey? as sson as i took my phoen out to take a pitcure my phoen locked up and shut off? strange then i seen a fog go over the light like it was cutting threw a fog or somthing but their was not 1 cloud in the ski? a couple seconds later the light stop scaning and and slowly went away then a blue backround sourounded the outer area were the light was on? Crazzy……

  • Annette Molinar

    I seen it in a distance off towards the direction of California. The red glowing was coming out of a dark. Cloud surrounding the red and white glow. I live in odessa, Tx. I told kids it was a UFO and something was wrong cause it’s not moving. We where on our way home from Plesant Farms , Tx. My son said they are trying to make contact with us.Wow

  • lilia

    Then they launch a 2nd missile today 11/9 but no one sees that anywhere..? Sounds like the weather Balloon crashing at Roswell story to me.

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