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‘Couldn’t believe my eyes’: social media lights up with SpaceX satellite launch

When SpaceX launched a rocket carrying an Argentine Earth-observation satellite from California, both the night sky and social media lit up.

People as far away as Phoenix and Sacramento posted photos of the space launch on Sunday night local time (Monday afternoon Australian time). It was the first time SpaceX landed a first-stage booster back at its launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base, about 209 kilometres northwest of Los Angeles.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 launch, as seen in the skies above California.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch, as seen in the skies above California.Credit:Twitter/Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

The Air Force warned residents on the central California coast they might see multiple engine burns by the first stage and hear one or more sonic booms as it returned.

But many were taken by surprise when the launch illuminated the sky, wondering what the otherworldly-looking site was. Some speculated it was a comet or an alien aircraft.

“Something exploded in the sky west of Phoenix,” Laura Gadbery wrote on Twitter. “Anyone catch it or know what it was?”

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