Californians puzzled as sky lights up from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe

Shortly after a rocket launch was canceled in Southern California on Wednesday evening, social media exploded with photos and questions about a mysterious trail of light that appeared in the sky in Northern California.

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Twitter users from Lake Tahoe to Ventura reported seeing the trail, including many in Sacramento and the Bay Area.

A Delta IV Heavy rocket, carrying satellites, was supposed to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County Wednesday evening, according to United Launch Alliance. The launch was scrubbed at about the same time the light appeared and has been rescheduled for Thursday evening.

Three astronauts undocked from the International Space Station minutes before the light appeared, headed towards Kazakhstan, according to the ISS Twitter account, run by NASA. It’s unclear whether their path would take them over California or produce a visible trail.

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Hannah Darden covers breaking news and feature stories for The Bee and is a political science and journalism student at Sacramento State. A Sacramento native, she previously worked as editor in chief of her community college newspaper, the American River Current.