E.T., is that you?
Some people in Arizona feared aliens were approaching or spaceships were landing Tuesday night when the sky over Phoenix suddenly lit up. A meteor streaked over the city about 8:30 p.m. local time, according to the Arizona Republic, instantly inspiring extraterrestrial conspiracy theories and UFO jokes as residents went online to share videos of the celestial event.
“I just saw a meteor or star or alien or something in the sky in Phoenix,” @ShawnBTweetin wrote on Twitter. “Anyone know #wtf that was?” asked @dsoltesz. “Don’t let them take me alive I know how to survive,” joked @connorfog.
Alas, it (probably) wasn’t an alien. Even though more than 70 people have shared sightings with the National UFO Reporting Center this month, the Republic reported the flash was likely caused by a bolide, or a fireball that usually explodes.
The American Meteorological Society gave more details in a blog post, explaining that the meteor was likely not part of the ongoing Taurid meteor shower because of its direction. Nevertheless, the society got more than 120 reports from interested stargazers.
“I have never witnessed this type of incident of a fireball in the sky before in my area and it was truly moving to see it and large!” Mary D. wrote from Keams Canyon. “It was very bright, beautiful and fleeting,” said Jessica L. from Phoenix. “It was so bright it scared me! I didn’t hear any noise which was more frightening, but then it could have been that I didn’t hear it in my car,” Zrcalo S. chimed in from Mesa.
Arizonans may be more suspicious than usual because the state just celebrated the 20-year anniversary of the Phoenix Lights, a March 1997 incident in which several witnesses claim to have seen a strange V-shaped collection of lights moving over the city. The local air force base later said the orbs were flares, but skeptics still insist they’re spacecraft or aliens.
“I don’t know what they were,” Lynne Kitei, a doctor who wrote a book about the Phoenix Lights, told KPNX. “But I know that they were.”
Even ex-Governor Fife Symington bought into the legend, telling the Associated Press in 2007 that the Phoenix Lights were “otherworldly.”
“I’m a pilot and I know just about every machine that flies,” Symington said at the time. “It was bigger than anything that I’ve ever seen. It remains a great mystery. Other people saw it, responsible people. I don’t know why people would ridicule it.”
No word on what Symington made of Tuesday night’s encounter.
This content was originally published here.