The Trident II Incident: Remember that Mystery Light off the Coast of California?

A mysterious plasmic projectile careens across the skies over DTLA. Photo Credit: Preston Newman. IG @newman_photos

A mysterious plasmic projectile careens across the skies over DTLA. Photo Credit: Preston Newman. IG @newman_photos

It was a balmy Saturday Eve, ~ 80° F, when many Americans looked up into the sky thinking, "WTF!?" It looked like if Salvador Dalî designed a cosmic sizzler, which instead of fire blazing off of it, had plasma blooming off of it. Not long after sunset on November 7th, 2015, an unidentified gaseous blue object, spotted off the coast of Southern California, slid and expanded in size across the night's sky. Reports came in from as far North as the Bay Area, Northeast as Reno, Nevada, East as Arizona and South as San Diego. Yes, it was true, and while ripping across the night fabric of Los Angeles, anybody outside couldn't miss it, including actress Lena Dunham with her friends in East LA. 

Photo Credit: Leena Dunham's Instagram page.

Photo Credit: Leena Dunham's Instagram page.

At approximately 6PM PST (18:00), the event had taken to social media, becoming somewhat of a "comet" across Twitter, Youtube and Facebook. KABC, Los Angeles TimesSan Diego Tribune, NPR, Earthsky, and were among those whom covered the incident. 

Los Angeles residents at an outdoor wedding in Palos Verdes Estates caught a sight of the spectacle (Credit: Oleslie18 - via Twitter )

Los Angeles residents at an outdoor wedding in Palos Verdes Estates caught a sight of the spectacle (Credit: Oleslie18 - via Twitter )

On Friday, November 6th, 2015, one day prior, on journalist Jory Rand wrote, What's going on this week is a mystery. The sentence was written in relation to a little hullabaloo going on over at LAX that day. Apparently, all flights incoming from the West, would be rerouted to approach from the South. Nancy Castles, LAX's public communications director, notified the general public as to that effect. Castles apologizes to the citizens affected for the inconvenience of the increase in planes approaching LAX from the South. Rand adds, The military is not saying what exactly is causing the change, and LAX claims it's also in the dark. Castles said all they know is planes can't be flying at low altitudes to our west.   

The following day, a Saturday, the sun set at 4:53 PM (16:53). It is certain the event took place in the evening after sunset, as evidenced by it being nighttime in the records, and corroborated here in this video footage shot by Jim Boydston, which is featured in the article. Social media had flooded by 6:30 PM, which means it took place roughly 30-60 minutes after sunset. 

At 6:47 PM (18:47), a Twitter user Elijah Daniel @aguywithnolife tweeted what a time-stamped photo of the event, with the caption, 'WTF IS THIS UFO IN ORANGE COUNTY RIGHT NOW'. Daniel's comment, indicates that the event was taking place just before and during the time he posted.

At some point later that day, ABC7, LA's Local Eyewitness News station, runs an un-clocked story titled 'Naval Missile Test Flight Causes Bright Light To Streak Across Sky', written by Melissa MacBride and Gabrielle Moriera.

The article also stated that It is unclear if the flight diversions of Los Angeles International Airport planes over the Pacific has to do with the missile tests (the bolded part hyperlinked back to Rand's Article, which had discussed the shutdown of airspace West of LAX the day prior).

By 7:12 PM (19:12) the San Diego Trib, prints an in-depth article reporting the FAA did indicate to an airport official that the airspace over that part of the ocean had been activated since Friday night, and through the following Thursday. San Diego's News Channel, confirms the FAA directive, Navy officials contacted Hearland Fire and Sheriffs saying that it was confirmed by the FAA that it was a military drill.  


The San Diego Union Trib article, by Pauline Repard, was entitled, 'Mystery Light Over Ocean Was Missile Test' and quotes Cmdr Ryan Perry, of the Navy's Third fleet, as saying,"The pentagon issued a statement that The Navy Strategic System Program conducted a scheduled test of a Trident II (D5) missile from USS Kentucky, an Ohio class submarine." The launch, according to, was the 156th successful unarmed test launch of the Trident II, and was part of a Demonstration and Shakedown Operation (DASO)  "to demonstrate the readiness and effectiveness of an SSBN's (Ballistic Missile Submarine's) crew and weapon system." A symbolic point of note here is that The Trident is the three-pronged spear held by Poseidon (Neptune) the God of the Sea. 

The Trident II (5d) is a 44 foot long 6 feet wide SLBM (Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile) that can carry up to 14 thermonuclear warheads to an operational range exceeding 4,700 miles. At 70 million a pop, the US Navy has launched one hundred and sixty of these since 1989. What's interesting in this story, is that 159 of them were neither captivating nor astonishing to the public, nor seen across three states, nor strangely psychedelic.  

That next Monday, the event happeed on a Friday, at 8:28 AM (08:28), Joseph Serna, a contact reporter for the LA Times wrote, "A series of military operations that likely included a missile test over the weekend is forcing flights approaching Los Angeles International Airport in the middle of the night to fly over South L.A." Airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles, said that the mandate, which came from Federal Aviation Administration, 'involves a no-fly zone over the military airspace over the ocean west of the airport'. In this article we discover just three days later, that Castles had specifically been contacted by the FAA. 

On March 23, 2016, in an article published about a month ago on, Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work discusses the Trident II launches, "These six nominal launches, all within the past 30 days, represent all three legs of the Nuclear Triad and serve as indicators of our unbelievably capable force."  The article goes on to mention they also conducted two test launches last November, written beneath a grainy stock photo of "a launch", and detailed information released about the purported missile test on November, 7th, 2015. 

Flash back to the day after everyone saw that strange light in the sky. Many who did not see the event, and even some who did speculated that it may have been a meteor, and at least for those who didn't see it, reasonably so. The annual Taurid meteor shower of 2015 was most visible in between Nov. 2nd through November 12th, peaking around November 7th or 8th. Despite this, Astrophysicist Brian Keating of UC San Diego, explains why it was not a meteor, "The Taurid meteors would be coming in from the east - and this light came from the west," Keating said. "We'd also be more likely to see meteors at about midnight, and the flash came near sunset." 

The article by Repard also discovered information from eye witlessness, noting that "Some people saw it fade from bright red to white or blue, and thought that it traveled from south to north." This is the second written discovery to speak of the trajectory of "the object", in question. The first being Professor Keating of UC San Diego whom mentioned its westerly origin in defense of his opinion that this could not have been the Taurid meteor shower. Moreover, the author of this article observed "the event" from near the coast in Los Angeles, and it clearly saw it coming from the South West over the ocean and heading to the North East across California.

On November 12th, the following Thursday (11/12/15), John Daniels, a spokesperson for the Navy Strategic System Programs, which laid claim to conducting the Saturday Evening Missile Test, as well as another around Noon the following Monday (which didn't cause nay ooh's and ah's), told Nick Greene of The Daily Breeze, that no new tests were planned. Daniels denied the recent missile testing having anything to do with the regulated airspace around LAX, "It’s not us causing anything going on at Los Angeles International Airport,” he said. “It won’t be another Trident launch. If there’s some other Navy exercise or some other military exercise, I’m not aware of it. We don’t have anything going on in your area for quite some time.” The journalist Greene followed up with writing that, Daniels’ comment itself was unusual because the Navy traditionally does not confirm or deny possible classified missile tests in advance. Apparently, Daniels told Greene that his reason for comment was due to the unusual "furor" caused by Saturday's unexpected event. 

Also that following Monday, November 9th, KUSI News, a local San Diego rag, reported that the Pentagon released a series of images through its Flickr account ussstratcom, showcasing Naval Officers involved in the launch. The series of thirty plus images contained only two pictures of the purported missile launch itself, while the others were mostly silhouettes overlooking the bow of the above water submarine or Navy Administration milling about. The two images that purport to shed light on the "missile launch" of November the 7th, 2015, are an actual launch image, (which is actually a stock photo, and funny enough uploaded in 2012), and the other is a Naval Officer pointing at a screen, which alleges to be a video feed of the November 7th Trident II (5d) missile launch taking place, but isn't confirmable. 

Lastly, as mentioned in the article with the Astrophysicist from US San Diego, whom reported the light came from the West, and as mentioned that some witnesses in San Diego, "saw it fade from bright red to white or blue, and thought it traveled from south to north." As I already mentioned, a bit later, and 112 miles farther North in Los Angeles, this journalist observed the light appear in the West somewhere just off the coast, coming from the south with a North by North/East bearing. But The LA Times reports, the unarmed missile landed safely near the Marshall islands, which is some 4,800 miles West of California. "The test on Saturday featured the launch of a missile outfitted with a dummy warhead toward the Kwajalein Atoll, a missile test site that's part of the Marshall Islands in the western Pacific." So how does a missile heading north east over San Diego and Los Angeles, which continues upon that trajectory long enough to be observed 400 miles farther up the coast in San Francisco, landing 4,800 miles due West of LA? For that kind of distance to be achieved it would be impossible for it to be heading North-East, as eye witnesses in San Diego reported, as Professor Keating reported, and as I am reporting from Los Angeles, and keep going far enough North to be seen 400 miles North in San Francisco, and then make a Uturn and end up 4,800 miles due west of LA in the Marshall islands. Matter of fact, 4,800 miles happens to be the Trident II's distance capacity.

A few items of note, in closing, are that apart from the stock photo which dates back to 2012, the only other official image of the missile in launch is the missile seen through the screen inside the submarine, and that projectile is emitting a traditionally yellow and white flame, which is a far cry from what you have observed in these photographs taken from all sorts of people all over the US. So how did a regular missile transform into the rather slow and psychedelic light show that careened through the skies of San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco on the eve of November the Seventh, which in no way resembles any public facing images of "said missile launch", with particular consideration given to the aesthetic characteristics of its propulsion emission (observe in detail the iridescent violet hue it emits around 1:36). Someone even went so far as to split-screen an older video of a Trident missile launch alongside a video of the event of the seventh of November, which makes the differences even more salient.


So what do you think the "missile" was? A few questions to leave you with... Why didn't the "missile launch" reported that took place the following Monday cause any sort of stir? Why did people in San Diego and Los Angeles see the projectile heading north and east when it was reported to have landed 4,800 west of the coast? Why did the navy deny having anything to do with the closed down airspace at LAX? Why didn't any of the 159 launches cause anything remotely similar to what occurred on Saturday November 7th, 2015? Some things may remain a mystery, and what a beautiful mystery it is.