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National UFO Reporting Center
Sighting Report
Occurred : 9/19/2002 19:45 (Entered as : 09/19/02 19:45)
Reported: 9/19/2002 9:25:08 PM 21:25
Posted: 3/11/2003
Location: Malibu, CA
Shape: Sphere
Duration:30 minutes
bright, large, white sphere, with flaming orange contrails over Pacific Coast Highway

I am submitting this for a friend who is repeating the following to me during a phone conversation, but who has no web access right now.

Walking at top of Topanga Canyon overlooking Pacific Ocean. In sky over ocean a huge, spherical, object pushed through the clouds. It appeared about 100 times larger than a blimp and was primarily bright white. It emerged from the north, sat high above the horizon, then moved south. It had a stream of orange flame, as if from a engine. It also had contrails in all directions as if exploding, almost. This went on for about 10 minutes, then the white area became triangular and the contrails formed a Z, and then slowly formed other shapes as white shape faded to greenish blue. All the dogs in the area were howling (except mine, which isn't saying anything as he's slightly retarded).

At first I thought this was the moon, but the moon was already appearing in the southern sky. Then I thought it was a refraction of setting sunlight reflecting off the ocean and through the clouds, but it appeared extremely three dimensional and extremely bright. If it was refraction, I've never anything quite like it.

I've never reported UFO sightings before. I have never seen one and was frightened and alarmed and turned on the tv to see if we were in trouble. I am a professional journalist, respectably published, sober, and generally a skeptic. Would like to find out if anyone else saw this thing.

((NUFORC Note: Missile launch from Vandenberg AFB. Please see article. PD))

((BEGIN ASSOCIATED PRESS ARTICLE ABOUT LAUNCH))

Air Force Test Missile Out West
Fri Sep 20, 1:25 AM ET


VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) - An Air Force missile test Thursday provided a spectacular light show seen over California and much of the West, as far away as Utah and New Mexico.

The colorful contrail was seen soon after the unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile blasted off at 7:36 p.m. from an underground silo at the Vandenberg military base north of Santa Barbara.

"The smoke went up in spirals as the sun was setting and turned into an orange, amber color. It was like a flower going into bloom pretty quickly," said Simon Cox, who saw it from a restaurant terrace in Santa Barbara.

The missile traveled about 4,200 miles in about 30 minutes, striking a predetermined target at the Kwajalein Missile Range in the western chain of the Marshall Islands, the Air Force said.

Vandenberg spokeswoman Kelly Gabel said clear conditions were responsible for the spectacular light show.

"We do this two or three times a year, but because the weather was so perfect we decided to launch it early," Gabel said. As a result, people were still awake to see it, and although the sun had set, sunlight below the horizon glinted off unspent fuel particles and water droplets.

"Suddenly we're getting calls from people as far away as New Mexico who saw it and want to know what it is," Gabel said.

The mission was directed by the 576th Flight Test Squadron at Vandenberg and the 341th Space Wing and the 341st Space Wing, from Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana.

The purpose was to test launch systems and the missile's accuracy and reliability.

((END ARTICLE BY ASSOCIATED PRESS))