‘UFO’ spotted over Southwest Florida was the result of an earlier SpaceX launch

Reporter: Annalise Iraola Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:

People across Southwest Florida looked to the skies on Monday night and saw something unusual. Something lit up the night sky, leaving many people wondering what they were looking at.

It’s not a bird, and it’s not a plane. At first glance, several WINK News viewers wondered if it was a UFO that appeared in our sky Monday night.

“It just kind of confuses the brain because I had never seen anything like that before,” said Mary Jakubowski, who saw the light in the sky.

Jakubowski was visiting her parents in Saint James City around 7:45 p.m. when she noticed the weird light and immediately asked herself many questions. “Is it a Chinese spy balloon? Is it a weather balloon? Is it one of those lanterns?”

She grabbed a pair of binoculars to get a better look. “It was just very hazy, and I couldn’t get a direct [look], the binoculars to directly zoom in on it.”

SpaceX launch seen from Southwest Florida. (Credit: Shared with WINK News)

WINK News Chief Meteorologist Matt Devitt says the mystery light was not a UFO but a spacecraft from here on earth. The light was the result of a nighttime SpaceX launch earlier that evening.

Heather Preston, the director of the Calusa Nature Center Planetarium, agrees. “Oh, the space jellyfish! Yeah, that happens a lot with SpaceX launches, actually.”

She said the jellyfish-shaped lights are nothing to worry about and have a simple explanation.

“These ice crystals that come out of the spacecraft exhaust are beautiful, and they glow whenever the sunlight hits them. If we’re in darkness, but the sunlight is going right past the limb of the earth, then when those ice crystals are up there, they turn into this fantastic show,” said Preston.

You can expect to see similar-looking lights in the sky if the conditions are right during future nighttime launches.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.