More strange lights were seen in the skies over Maine late Thursday night, but it’s unlikely they were related to an incident earlier this week. An Air Force spokeswoman said Friday that the sighting of "fireballs in the sky" off Maine’s coast Monday evening was almost definitely part of a U.S. Air Force booster rocket.Between 10 and 11 p.m. Thursday, Bangor police and Penobscot County sheriff dispatchers received several calls describing shafts of yellow and white light that extended from the ground to the sky. Additional sightings of an orange glow over northern Penobscot County also were reported. A meteorologistwith the National Weather Service in Caribou said there was no meteorological explanation for the lights.
Rebecca Hupp, director at Bangor International Airport, said the airport did not field any calls overnight Thursday.On Monday evening, reports flooded dispatch centers in Washington County and New Brunswick describing strange orange lights in the sky. At first there was concern that a plane had crashed in the Bay of Fundy, but a quick search by the U.S. Coast Guard revealed that was not the case.
Lt. Col. Maria Carl confirmed Friday that the Air Force launched an
Atlas V booster shortly after 5 p.m. Monday from Cape Canaveral Air
Force Station in Florida. It was carrying what she called National
Reconnaissance Office payload, but she didn’t elaborate because it was
a classified mission.
Tenminutes after the
booster was launched north, an expendable fuel tank separated and
dropped into the Atlantic Ocean about 100 miles off Nova Scotia, she
"Obviously, I don’t know
for sure what people saw, but based on the trajectory and the timing,
it seems accurate that it would have been the booster," Carl said
While her explanation might
close the door on Monday’s sightings, it doesn’t explain the reports of
orange and yellow light shafts seen Thursday.
"I can’t speak to that," the Air Force spokeswoman said, "but we didn’t have any additional launches, so that wasn’t us."
Neil Comins, an astronomy
professor at the University of Maine, said Thursday’s light show could
have been several things. For example, a variety ofgase......
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