(Reuters) - Social media lit up on Saturday night with reports of streaking lights across the skies from California to Arizona, but the phenomenon turned out to be a Navy missile test flight launched off the southern California coast, the Pentagon said.
A Pentagon public affairs spokesman said a U.S. Navy Strategic Systems Programs Trident II (D5) missile test flight was conducted at sea from the USS Kentucky, in the Pacific Test Range off the coast of Southern California.
Users of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook posted photos, comments and video of the lights, wondering whether they might have come from everything from a meteor to a UFO.
The tests of the unarmed missile were part of a scheduled, on-going system evaluation test, according to the spokesman, Commander Ryan Perry.
Such launches are conducted on a frequent, recurring basis to ensure the continued reliability of the system, Perry said, as well as to provide systems information and assurances of their capabilities.
Because information regarding the test launch of Trident II (D5) missiles is classified prior to the launch, such missile testing is not routinely announced, he noted.
Editing by Chris Michaud, Robert Birsel