Breaking News
More () »

Astronomers say mysterious bright light in the sky over Northern California probably a meteor

ABC10 viewers called in Wednesday to find out if what they saw was a Vandenberg satellite launch.

If you're reading in the ABC10 app, click here for multimedia

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — A classified satellite launch had all eyes in the sky Wednesday night, as Vandeberg Air Force Base prepared for NROL-71.

Hello from Delta IV Heavy mission control! We're counting down to the NROL-71 launch for the National Reconnaissance Office at 5:44pm PST tonight. Tune into our live broadcast starting at 5:24pm PST...

Unfortunately, the launch was scrubbed for a second time this week, and the fourth time overall. A hydrogen leak in one engine halted the launch only minutes before takeoff from Vandenberg Air Force Base Wednesday evening. The launch was reset for 5:31 p.m. Thursday.

It's the fourth time the launch was postponed in the past two weeks. The rocket will carry a classified satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office.

Several ABC10 viewers have called in and reached out to us online to ask about what they saw in the sky tonight. Vandenberg's sunset launches can be seen for hundreds of miles and about the time of the planned launch, folks in Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area and even farther south reported seeing a strange, shining, cloudlike squiggle in the sky.

Astronomers say it wasn't a rocket launch but probably a meteor entering the atmosphere.

Mercedees Edwards shared the below video with ABC10 Reporter Giacomo Luca. 

Twitter user @StrobesnPixels shared the below video with us on Twitter:

Here is the YouTube live of Wednesday's scrubbed launch: 

The original United Launch Alliance launch was scrubbed on Tuesday due to high winds. 

To follow the progress of this launch, visit ULA's website

President of Sacramento Valley Astronomical Society, Walt Heiges, offered his take on what the mysterious light could be.

"Based on what I see in the video, I am guessing it is a meteor from the Geminids. It appears to be going toward earth or down. Just a great bit of timing. Squiggly line due to wind currents. My two cents," Heiges said in a statement to ABC10.


Bartell's Backroads: The Cameron Park Clock Collector

It was time to get a hobby and that's exactly what one Cameron Park man did. They call him the clock man because of his extensive clock collection.

Before You Leave, Check This Out