What Was This Strange Object Over California?

Screen shot via Ken Roberts

On Monday, YouTube user Ken Roberts uploaded a video titled “UFO Crashing Releases Orb Over Southern California. Anyone Else See It?” He claims that he was driving home from work when he saw this mysterious light in the sky, and pulled over to the side of the road to film it. A few seconds into the video a bright chunk appears to jettison off of the main body and blaze away in the opposite direction. He claims it then went up into the sky and completely disappeared, though that part wasn’t captured on film. He reports that he didn’t hear any explosions associated with the event.

Check out the video here (the video stops 40 seconds in, so there’s no need to keep watching after the picture goes black):

 

 

After this video was released, there were a number of explanations postulated to explain this event. These included meteors associated with the Quadrantids meteor shower, a fallen satellite, or experimental government hardware. 

However, the fireball shown in the video doesn’t behave in a manner to be expected from any of those things. Meteors typically move much more quickly than this object. While it is common for meteors to fall apart as they burn in the atmosphere, it would be extremely odd for a single piece to break off and then completely change direction like that. Even if this was a satellite or something that exploded in the atmosphere, you wouldn’t see one single piece acting in that manner.

In my opinion, the best explanation is that the video was faked. (Someone lying on the internet? No way!)

To answer the question in Mr. Roberts’ video title, the answer is: no. It doesn’t appear that anyone else saw it. There aren’t any pending reports of fireball sightings with the American Meteor Society, and no other eyewitnesses. With 22 million people living in SoCal, it seems odd that not a single one of them also noticed such a spectacle. 

Additionally, he didn’t actually supply any relevant information. “Southern California” is a fairly big place, and this doesn’t give more detail about where he was, what direction he was facing, the date, or time of day this was filmed. 

The YouTube account was also created on the same day the video was uploaded. However, the UFO video wasn’t uploaded until after he posted a video of seagulls from a trip to New York and watched a bunch of sports videos, which seems like an extremely odd choice of priorities.

It also seems extremely odd that comments are turned off on the video. If you truly believed you saw a UFO crashing to Earth and a mysterious object flying back out to space, wouldn’t you want to hear from others who might have also witnessed it and could have additional information?

Open Minds, a website for UFO enthusiasts, is also skeptical of the video’s claims. They report that after the video was uploaded, someone commented on the video and made Mr. Roberts an offer for use of the video. A short time later, the description on the video changed and stated that exclusive rights to the video belonged to the user who sent the offer. Between the time of their reporting and now, the description of the video has been changed again. There is now no mention of anyone else’s ownership, but it does come with a warning not to re-upload without permission, and the comments are now disabled.

[Hat tip: SPLOID]

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