Last Thursday, I was on the phone with Livia, and she started to freak out about something in the sky: "Oh my god. What is that? It has a little tail! It looks... like a badminton shuttle, and it's moving really slowly through the sky. It just exploded! What the hell was that?? I've never seen anything like before!" (more freaking out here)
Of course, we all thought she was insane.
And today, I happened upon Carlos' journal:
At first, I thought it was a satellite plunging into the Earth's atmosphere, or perhaps an asteroid. It sort of startled me because I had never seen anything quite like it before.
It basically looked like a large, fast moving object in the upper reaches of the stratosphere, with a brilliant, white glow eminating behind it and leaving a long spiraling trail.
After a few minutes, this object seemed to explode in the sky, and waves of light seemed to spread out in a circle but quickly dissipated!
But fortunately, Linda took a photo of this "dragon in the sky", as she referred to it. And I feel this is a very good description of what turned out to be a test rocket, launched from Vandenburg Air Force Base, just north of Santa Barbara.
I guess it's plausible that you could see something like that from Palo Alto, if Carlos & gang saw it from San Diego. Sorry, Livia! I believe you now. :)