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What was that flying object? 'Mystery missile' sparks online speculation

The mysterious projectile spotted Monday off the Southern California coast has Defense Department officials scratching their heads. Was it a missile? Who may have launched it and where did it come from?

Military officials said the unidentified object captured on video by television station KCBS does not pose a threat to the nation, but the lack of a clear explanation has only fueled speculation online.

By midday "missile" was among the most popular topics on microblogging site Twitter, where users posted all sorts of explanations for the luminous point hurtling through the sky some 35 miles off the Pacific coast.


What do you think it was? Share your speculation in comments below.

 -- Tony Barboza

Comments () | Archives (38)

"does not pose a threat" sounds like famous last words to me.

I just traveled on Amtrak through Vandenberg Air Force Base last Tuesday and there was a large missile/rocket on a launch pad that was waiting to be launched. Perhaps it's this missile or rocket that everybody saw in the sky. Simple explanation. Wonder why nobody has mentioned Vandenberg in these stories as yet. Didn't the press call the Air Force or check with residents of Lompoc and vicinity?

We were trying to shoot down the moon and epically failed

It was a single engine private jet taking off from LAX and the video is at a weird angle showing the contrail. C'mon people!

It was a cookie launch.

If I said it cold be a ufo it would not get posted, but remember god is invisible and the world believes.

Does not pose a threat to the nation ??? Good thing cause that one could have hurt !
It was a contrail from a bottle rocket....errr a 747 or a cub scout science project....Pelosi's head after the Dem's said she's being replaced....weather balloon or Hollywood special effects filming "Red Dawn" China.

Something will stick, go back to wondering who won Dancing with the Stars.

Sorry guys, that was my water heater.....

Possibly part of our missle defense system? I imagine our defence system is somewhat automated. Is it possible the system detected a threat, or what it thought to be a threat, and auto-fired a missle? UFO maybe? ;)

Contrail from LAX?? How about swamp gas....

Whatever it was, I am not reassured by the statements coming from the military. "We don't know what it was; but don't worry, it wasn't dangerous...." How do they know?

My money is that it was a JL-2 launched from a Type 094 SSBN

"It was a single engine private jet taking off from LAX and the video is at a weird angle showing the contrail. C'mon people!"

No way man.. Watch the video again. I will never understand why people see things that are unexplainable and immediately find a ridiculous explanation so that they can sleep at night.

I saw the contrail as I was driving west on the 105. Then, at the end of contrail, was the most beautiful, angled, light blue line heading into the atmosphere.

I intitally thought it was steam/smoke from one of the refineries in the South Bay, but the blue light above the contrail was defintely gas exhaust from a rocket.

Here is the problem. All missile launches in the past have been from the north (Vandenburg/Magu), this missile definelty appeared to be launched and shot nearer to LAX then any other launch I have seen. In fact, I am sure more then one pilot was taken by surprise.

Maybe there is an asteroid that is going to hit earth and the launch was an attempt to deflect it. That would explain why the government doesn't "know". Or maybe I watch too much SciFi Movies.

So let's list the things the Pentagon does NOT know:

1. What this was.
2. Where it was launched FROM
3. Who launched it, or why.
4. WHERE IT LANDED??? I guess they didn't bother tracking it?

Now let's list the things they DO know:

1. It was not a threat.


If you look at the FAA warning for that day, as someone already pointed out on the SF Chronicle comments section, they gave a warning to stay out of this area on this day.

It was our military, but for some reason the media and the military is playing some kind of game.

oh well. Sheep will follow

If the folks at NORAD are "trying to figure it out" that gives us all cause to worry. I think we'll here the truth when the government finally decides we need to hear it...hmm.

First we are shooting at brown people we dont know and that never did anything to us (to the tune of 2 trillion and counting). Now we dont even know what we are shooting off?

If the US Air Force launched a missle, it's no ones business.. On the other hand, if it was another country, we should deal with them by launching one over their skies too... Got that China!

If the government doesn't know what it was or who launched it, how on earth can they tell you it was never a threat. People thought the same thing about Japan back on December 7, 1941

Anybody call Sea Launch? They're based out of Long Beach (CA) and just came out of chapter 11. They load the rockets in Long Beach and sail out to the equator from there.


Maybe a mishap? Or intentional launch to pay some bills?

It was Iron Man... er... a "training accident!"

Hey, isn't SD where Geffin and his buddies are trying to create a civilian space agency.

It was Unicron. He's back and he's pissed. He's come to Earth to finally finish off those pesky Autobots.

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