News

November 9, 2015
 

Naval missile test off California creates streaking light

Christopher Weber
Associated Press

A bright, colorful light that streaked across the California sky, startling residents and leading to a flurry of calls to law enforcement, turned out to be an unarmed missile test-fired from a Navy submarine off the coast the evening of Nov. 7, officials said.
Kevin Stack was walking to dinner with his young son in northeastern Los Angeles when he was stopped in his tracks by what he thought was an especially intense light from a police helicopter — except that it was completely silent.
“It intensified then shot across the dark sky, leaving a green trail,” said Stack, 41. “Then it fizzled and appeared like a dying dot on an old television screen.”
Stack’s 5-year-old son, Blackstone, was under no illusions about what he had just seen.
“It was an alien,” Blackstone said.
Not quite, said Cmdr. Ryan Perry, a Navy spokesman. Navy Strategic Systems Programs conducted a missile test at sea from the USS Kentucky, a ballistic missile submarine, Perry said in a statement.
The launches are conducted on a frequent basis to ensure the continued reliability of the system and that information about such test launches is classified prior to the launch, he said.
The lack of information about the streak of light just after sunset led to panicked calls to police and lit up social media as people posted photos and video of the celestial sight.
Julien Solomita just happened to be shooting some video footage in a Los Angeles neighborhood when his group saw something odd up above.
“It was very wild watching this in the sky,” he said in an email to The Associated Press. “I can’t really say what I thought it was because I’ve never experienced anything remotely close to it.”
The light was visible for hundreds of miles, startling people in Nevada and Arizona and as far north as California’s Sonoma Valley wine country.
“Anybody else see the big white ball of light in the sky?” wrote California state Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, on Facebook. “Wow.”
It wasn’t clear whether the test was related to the rerouting of nighttime flights into and out of Los Angeles International Airport because of an active military airspace from Friday to Nov. 12.
Flights usually arrive and depart over the ocean from midnight to 6:30 a.m. to minimize noise, but they will have to go over communities east of the airport.
A message seeking comment from the Federal Aviation Administration wasn’t immediately returned.
The test was conducted in the Pacific Test Range, a vast area northwest of Los Angeles where the Navy periodically test-fires Tomahawk and Standard cruise missiles from surface ships and submarines.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines – February 15, 2019

News Former Air Force tech sergeant who defected to Iran charged with spying – A former Air Force counterintelligence specialist, a technical sergeant, who defected to Iran about five years after leaving the Air Force, has been charged with revealing classified information as well as research about her former colleagues to representatives of the Tehran...
 
 

News Briefs – February 15, 2019

Pentagon official assures Iraqis of limited U.S. military role The top Pentagon official assured Iraqi leaders Feb. 12 that the U.S. will stick to its limited military role in Iraq, a message aimed at recent talk by some Iraqi politicians of forcing a U.S. troop withdrawal. Pat Shanahan, the acting secretary of defense, said that...
 
 
Courtesy photograph

High Desert Hangar Stories: Tony LeVier and the wall

Courtesy photograph Tony LeVier and ground crew with the XF-90. With all due respect to the rock group Pink Floyd, back in 1950 there were very few “bricks in the wall” known as the sound barrier. Today, a multitude of pilo...