It Lit up the Night Sky

@moffittjc (47420)
Gainesville, Florida
November 20, 2016 9:01am CST
Being that I was fully engulfed in watching football yesterday with my daughter, I really didn't pay attention to too much else that was going on in the world. After the football game yesterday, my daughter and I went out to eat at a local restaurant before heading home for the night. Being that the sun sets at like 4pm these days (ok, exaggeration, but it does set very early now), it was dark when we left the restaurant. As we were walking back to my truck a few blocks away, we were quite surprised when a huge ball of light rose up in the night sky off to our east as we were walking. It was quite huge, and completely lit up the night sky. Frankly, it startled us, but after a few minutes of watching the trajectory of this fireball, it became clear that we had just witnessed a night launch of a rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Sure enough, when I got home and turned on the computer, I was able to find out that NASA had launched an Atlas V rocket carrying a state-of-the-art weather satellite. It was pretty cool that my daughter and I got to view the launch in the night sky. Night launches are amazing to watch, especially if you can be up close to the launch site. Where we were yesterday was about 2 hours away, but nonetheless had an amazing view of the rocket ascending into space. Have you ever been surprised by an unexpected light in the night sky? Or have you ever witnessed a rocket launch at night?
19 people like this
19 responses
@JolietJake (51067)
• United States
20 Nov 16
Neither, but I have been surprised by unexpected lights at night...so was she...thankfully we were still dressed and the cop told us to move the car somewhere else
6 people like this
• Lenox, Georgia
20 Nov 16
@Jolietjake Thanks for the laugh!
5 people like this
@moffittjc (47420)
• Gainesville, Florida
20 Nov 16
That, my friend, is pretty funny! And unfortunately, the same thing has happened to me before! I guess you and I (and our dates) were pretty lucky that we had "cool" cops that let us go. I've heard lots of stories from friends where they weren't so lucky.
3 people like this
• Lenox, Georgia
20 Nov 16
I have never seen anything cool like that. That must have been awesome! =)
4 people like this
@moffittjc (47420)
• Gainesville, Florida
20 Nov 16
You should be able to get a very good view of night launches from where you are in Jacksonville. If I can remember, I'll try to let you know the next time there is a night launch from the Cape so you can try to go outside and view it.
2 people like this
• Lenox, Georgia
20 Nov 16
@moffittjc Yes please let me know if you think of it because I want to see something cool like that! =) The kids will love it!
2 people like this
@moffittjc (47420)
• Gainesville, Florida
20 Nov 16
@LovingMyBabies That's why I mentioned it to you, because I knew it would be something your kids would love to see! The only problem is, from the distance you and I are from the Cape, the night launches look more like a little fireball going up into the sky, so I don't know how exciting it would be to the kiddos. But I still think it's worth viewing, at least once or twice!
1 person likes this
@Asylum (48215)
• Manchester, England
20 Nov 16
It may have been a UFO which was following the rocket.
3 people like this
@moffittjc (47420)
• Gainesville, Florida
20 Nov 16
Usually the UFO's wait until the rocket is in space before they start following them. Keeps them better hidden from the public.
2 people like this
@Asylum (48215)
• Manchester, England
20 Nov 16
@moffittjc Since you are the expert on this I will accept your word.
2 people like this
@moffittjc (47420)
• Gainesville, Florida
20 Nov 16
@Asylum I'm only an expert because I have experienced a close encounter of the third kind. Wait...that was a movie. I experienced the movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." Forget it, I'm no expert!
2 people like this
• United States
20 Nov 16
Sounds cool but I'm not into space stuff =) Are you into UFO, aliens and stuff too??
2 people like this
@moffittjc (47420)
• Gainesville, Florida
20 Nov 16
I wouldn't necessarily say I'm "into" UFO's and aliens, but I will admit that I am a little bit fascinated by the stories people report about strange objects they encounter in the sky.
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Nov 16
@moffittjc Lol =) What about ZOMBIES!
1 person likes this
@moffittjc (47420)
• Gainesville, Florida
21 Nov 16
@infatuatedbby Haha, there are just as many female fans of TWD as there are male fans!
1 person likes this
@jstory07 (72386)
• Roseburg, Oregon
21 Nov 16
I got to see one rocket go up into space and that was a neat thing to have seen.
2 people like this
@moffittjc (47420)
• Gainesville, Florida
21 Nov 16
There was one launch I saw that will be etched in my memory forever. It was the 1986 launch (and subsequent explosion) of the Space Shuttle Challenger. I was 17 at the time. It was horrific, and I hope to never have to witness something like that again.
1 person likes this
@HazySue (24625)
• United States
20 Nov 16
Years ago, when I lived in New Jersey I remember a night that was as bright as the day. A gas line underneath the ground exploded and lit up the sky. They had to evacuate the people within 25 miles of the explosion.
2 people like this
@moffittjc (47420)
• Gainesville, Florida
20 Nov 16
Two years ago, on Christmas Eve, the kids and I were driving home from a midnight Christmas Eve church service, and all of a sudden the entire night sky lit up an eery green color, that was almost as bright as day. The whole sky stayed lit up in the greenish color for several minutes, and then the sky went dark again. Totally freaked me and the kids out. I checked every news and media source that night and the next day, and there was nothing strange reported. To this day I have no idea what could have been bright enough, or powerful enough, to completely light up the night sky in a greenish glow like that, and NOT be reported on the news!
@garymarsh6 (14741)
• United Kingdom
20 Nov 16
I would dearly love to see the launch of a rocket both in the day time and also at night. How exciting and great timing!
2 people like this
@fishtiger58 (30317)
• Momence, Illinois
20 Nov 16
Wow that is something I have never seen in person. I bet it was an amazing sight.
1 person likes this
@moffittjc (47420)
• Gainesville, Florida
20 Nov 16
It was a pretty cool site to see last night, just because I didn't expect it, but it is much better when you can get up close to a rocket launch. I've made many trips to Cape Canaveral just to watch space shuttle and rocket launches. My favorite part is feeling the ground shake underneath you from the roar of the rocket engines at liftoff. There were times where I could feel the ground shaking from as far as 10 miles away! And then when the sonic boom hits you, wow, it is just awesome!
1 person likes this
@fishtiger58 (30317)
• Momence, Illinois
21 Nov 16
@moffittjc Oh man you are making me so jealous
1 person likes this
@moffittjc (47420)
• Gainesville, Florida
22 Nov 16
@fishtiger58 I've even gotten to watch a few space shuttles land at the Kennedy Space Center. That's a pretty amazing sight as well! Unfortunately, they never landed there that often, most of the time because of weather conditions. But on a rare occasion we would get lucky and see one land in Florida! It's such a shame that the shuttle days are over.
1 person likes this
• Midland, Michigan
6 Dec 16
I've never witnessed any type of rockets launching in the daytime let alone at night. I never saw the Northern Lights when living in MI my first twenty-six years and only came upon them some years later in Ohio. I was surprised one year a while back when I did see them one night here in Michigan. I also saw fireflies here when I never saw them here before, or wait, Did I just disturb a memory? Not sure as it was fleeting.
1 person likes this
@moffittjc (47420)
• Gainesville, Florida
6 Dec 16
I remember when fireflies were so abundant, that you'd see them everywhere in the summertime and fall. I can't tell you the last time I've seen a firefly. They're just not around too much anymore! And that's awesome that you finally got to see the Northern Lights after all those years! That's something I've never seen, but hope to someday!
1 person likes this
• Midland, Michigan
6 Dec 16
@moffittjc I've actually seen more fireflies in the past several years than I did growing up. I don't really remember noticing them too much this past summer, but I may not have been paying attention.
1 person likes this
@moffittjc (47420)
• Gainesville, Florida
7 Dec 16
@MarshaMusselman I'm glad to know that you've seen quite a bit of fireflies in the past few years. I was getting worried that they were becoming extinct! lol
1 person likes this
@simone10 (21646)
• Louisville, Kentucky
8 Dec 16
Wow, that is so cool to have been able to witness that! You and your daughter shared a fantastic moment together.
1 person likes this
@moffittjc (47420)
• Gainesville, Florida
8 Dec 16
My son and I got to see a rocket launch last night, so now he's also gotten in on the action!
1 person likes this
@simone10 (21646)
• Louisville, Kentucky
10 Dec 16
@moffittjc You are so lucky to live so close that you can experience moments like that.
1 person likes this
@moffittjc (47420)
• Gainesville, Florida
10 Dec 16
@simone10 Definitely one of the benefits of living in Florida! And also living close to Disney World! haha
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (122832)
• United States
20 Nov 16
I have never witnessed a rock launch, and the only light that has awed me was from fireworks. What a wonderful sight for you and your daughter to witness!
1 person likes this
@moffittjc (47420)
• Gainesville, Florida
20 Nov 16
When I was a teenager, my family was camping out on the shores of Lake Okeechobee in Florida, and one night while I was sitting on the shores of the lake watching the beautiful night sky, I saw a shooting star so big that it splashed down into the lake! It almost looked like a fireball it was so large!
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (122832)
• United States
20 Nov 16
@moffittjc Wow! Talk about seeing something that sticks with one for a lifetime!!! Too cool!!
1 person likes this
@moffittjc (47420)
• Gainesville, Florida
20 Nov 16
@Corbin5 I've also witnessed one of those "balls of lightning" that you hear people talk about from time to time. That actually was pretty scary when I saw that, because i was only 8 or 9 at the time, and it was storming really badly when it shot out of a storm cloud and raced toward the ground.
1 person likes this
@DianneN (91958)
• United States
30 Nov 16
That is so awesome and must have been so exciting to see. Years ago while walking my dog, he and I stopped to stare at a UFO in the early morning sky. It looked like a slow moving lemon drop. Everyone thought my dog and I were crazy. Never thought of investigating it.
1 person likes this
@moffittjc (47420)
• Gainesville, Florida
1 Dec 16
Wow, you actually saw a UFO? That's really cool!
1 person likes this
@DianneN (91958)
• United States
1 Dec 16
@moffittjc If the dog saw it, then it had to be one. Right?
1 person likes this
@moffittjc (47420)
• Gainesville, Florida
1 Dec 16
@DianneN Yes, if the dog saw it, it definitely was a UFO! I've seen strange things in the skies before, but nothing ever definitive enough to be able to say UFO. Of course, by very definition, anything I see in the sky that I can't explain would be a UFO until proven otherwise! But I mean I've never seen anything that I could say looks like a spaceship or flying saucer!
1 person likes this
@Poppylicious (10090)
20 Nov 16
The sun setting at 4 is not an exaggeration for me. How fabulous that you get to see fun things like that!
1 person likes this
@moffittjc (47420)
• Gainesville, Florida
20 Nov 16
I didn't think about the fact that the farther north you go, the earlier the sun sets at this time of year! That's just way too early for it to be getting dark!
1 person likes this
21 Nov 16
@moffittjc There will briefly be a time when I get to work in the dark and leave in the dark. I will not see daylight unless I have to get from one building to another!
1 person likes this
@moffittjc (47420)
• Gainesville, Florida
21 Nov 16
@Poppylicious Wow! That can't be too fun to have to go to and from work in the dark! It is always daylight when I go to work in the morning, but depending on the time of year it may or may not be dark when I leave work in the evening. Right now, when I leave work the sun is setting, and I'm always staring straight into the sun on my drive home. Makes it difficult to see!
• Eugene, Oregon
20 Nov 16
I have never seen a launch but have seen satellites at night. That was a real treat for you both!
1 person likes this
• Eugene, Oregon
21 Nov 16
@moffittjc Wow, that is one amazing app!
1 person likes this
@moffittjc (47420)
• Gainesville, Florida
21 Nov 16
@JamesHxstatic I'll have to ask him what app it is. He showed it to me the other night. It looked like a really interesting app.
1 person likes this
@JESSY3236 (7808)
• United States
22 Nov 16
That's cool. I never seen a rocket launch, but I did seen the super moon a few nights ago.
1 person likes this
@moffittjc (47420)
• Gainesville, Florida
23 Nov 16
That would have been really cool if they would have launched the rocket on the night of the full moon!
1 person likes this
@PatZAnthony (13262)
• Charlotte, North Carolina
22 Nov 16
Yes, we have seen some unexpected things light up the sky. We were told one was a weather balloon (don't think so) but we think it was a UFO.
1 person likes this
@moffittjc (47420)
• Gainesville, Florida
22 Nov 16
Ahhh...the old "weather balloon" trick. Funny how they try to use that as an excuse for many UFO sightings! How many damn weather balloons have meteorologists released over the years? I'm thinking not as many as they claim, based on the number of UFO sightings!
@5thHouse (1692)
• Sheffield, England
21 Nov 16
How cool to see a rocket launch. My daughter, Beth, would've loved that. She's a real space fan.
1 person likes this
@moffittjc (47420)
• Gainesville, Florida
22 Nov 16
Maybe someday she can visit Florida and catch a live viewing of a rocket launch! It seems like NASA is launching rockets all the time these days!
@LoriAMoore (4696)
• United States
20 Nov 16
Saw falling stars last week. Meteor shower.
1 person likes this
@moffittjc (47420)
• Gainesville, Florida
20 Nov 16
It's been a while since I've seen a good meteor shower. The last two meteor showers we had I was not able to view because we had cloudy or stormy conditions.
• Jacksonville, Florida
30 Nov 16
What a wonderful experience for you both.
1 person likes this