Many in California were left stunned by the "amazing" sight on Friday evening
Has Santa come early? Or have aliens finally landed?
Millions of people in Los Angeles were treated to the spectacular sight of a ‘UFO’ streaking through the night’s sky on Friday evening.
The bright object was spotted soaring above the Pacific Ocean just as many began travelling home for Christmas or were finishing work at around 5.30pm local time.
It brought traffic to a standstill as people enjoying happy hour drinks or last-minute shopping stopped in an amazement before posting pictures and video online.
Los Angeles police said least 130 people dialled 911 fearing an extra terrestrial invasion or perhaps a North Korean missile attack.
“THIS just happened in the L.A. night sky … … not sure what it is but it certainly was amazing to watch,” wrote Emely Von Oest on Twitter.
“What was that? Strangest thing I’ve ever seen just passed over Los Angeles,” added Mariel Garza, an LA Times writer.
The answer was quickly provided.
SpaceX, the space exploration programme funded by billionaire Elon Musk, launched their Falcon9 rocket from the nearby Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Musk later posted his own video of the spectacle on Twitter with the caption: “Nuclear alien UFO from North Korea.”
Brian Webb, an editor at, wrote: “The rocket’s bright flame should be visible over a wide area.
“However, since this launch occurs 30 minutes after Vandenberg sunset, it could be impressive at 2 minutes 12 seconds (after launch, or at 5:29 p.m.), when simulations show the exhaust plume will be illuminated at high altitude by the sun.”