The Coast Guard said Wednesday it had found the source of the mysterious lights that left California and Baja California residents staring skyward Monday night.
Some speculated that the orange lights were unidentified flying objects (UFOs). However, the Coast Guard reported that they were flares that had been used in a training exercise.
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The flares were seen from La Jolla, California, in the south of the state (north of San Diego), to the beaches of Rosarito, Baja California, in Mexico. To onlookers they looked like luminescent dots floating in the night sky.
“We saw three orange dots in a row over the sky in the center [de San Diego]. They never moved. And suddenly there were five points, and then six. They never changed direction, but every once in a while they turned off and turned on again a few minutes later,” a woman who witnessed the naval exercise in that city without knowing what it was said in an interview with the affiliate of our sister network NBC in San Diego.
“It was quite strange but interesting,” he added.
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Another witness told station KGTV that the lights were brighter than an airplane or those from a boat and described them as “definitely otherworldly”.
“There are some strange lights floating over downtown San Diego. Does anyone know if they are related to the 4th of July or the Navy or can I believe that aliens are finally visiting us,” user Austin Gunter wrote on Twitter.
Many were stunned even after the official explanation, wondering how the lights could have lasted approximately 20 minutes in the air without blinking.
The informative website Explainthatstuff.com explains that aerial flares are fired from a small rocket that goes up about 1,000 feet (300 meters). Then, the rocket explodes with a loud sound and releases a very bright flare that slowly descends with a small parachute, maximizing the time he can be seen.
The chemicals they are made of make them so bright that they are visible even in the daytime from a radius of 25 miles (40 kilometers), according to the website.