What was that strange flash in the sky? A UFO? Something classified out of Area 51? A falling satellite?
The calls to 911 came from Chatsworth and Palm Springs and Las Vegas, and even Phoenix.
Mysterious lights streaked through the heavens. Some saw a ball of light changing from green to orange. Some saw a white tail.
The first reports came from Riverside County at about 7 p.m. Wednesday. Within a half-hour, several Orange County residents also reported seeing the lights. After about an hour, reports were coming from all over the West, according to KCAL/KCBS.
The Federal Aviation Administration office in Los Angeles said people were reporting things falling from the sky since about 7:30 p.m.
"It could be meteors, but I'm more concerned about possible aircraft," an FAA official said. But there have been no indications that the activity in the skies is aircraft-related, said the official, who did not give his name.
Over at L.A.'s Griffith Park Observatory, Director Ed Krupp said that what was seen in the skies was probably "a piece of interplanetary debris" that "passed through the earth's atmosphere and burned up." The public "saw something that was at a very high altitude, just a piece of rock or maybe a grain of sand as it hit the atmosphere," he told City News Service. "What people are really seeing is superheated air. ... You're seeing the luminous trail of its passing."
Curt Kaplan of the National Weather Service said there were plenty of reports of lights going from west to east. To Krupp, "all the evidence suggests it was small and burned up at a high altitude. This kind of thing happens about once a year or once every few years. Few people see them because most of the earth is ocean and uninhabited and then it gets forgotten until it happens again."
Several days ago, NASA announced a defunct satellite would fall to Earth by “September’s end” but there has been no official confirmation on whether the lights and satellite were linked, KCAL/KCBS reported.
City News Service and KCAL/KCBS contributed to this report.