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SpaceX launch dazzles, terrifies in California sky

Falcon 9 launch sparked oohs and ahhs—and a few fears

SpaceX Launches Falcon 9 Rocket Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has been making fireworks in the headlines lately, but on Sunday night the launch of another one of the company’s Falcon 9 rockets lit up the scene in an entirely different way, ferrying a satellite into orbit in a dramatic spectacle.

Although the actual launch occurred at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Southern California, the sight was visible across the state—indeed, it was impossible to miss, to such a degree that those not in the know speculated about unexpected comets, asteroids, or possibly space aliens.

(Space.com reports that the mayor of Los Angeles had to assure some jittery residents not to be alarmed.)

Although the view from the Bay Area was not so dramatic as down south, distance added a certain extra hazy mystique to the imagery. Here’s a few choice shots shared via social media Sunday night and Monday morning: