(SAN DIEGO, Calif.) — Residents in the San Diego area took to social media after mysterious lights were spotted in the sky just off the coast Monday night.
With no clear indication of what the lights could be, dozens began posting photos and videos on Twitter, questioning what was happening in their night sky.
The posts offered several possible sources for the unusual lights, including UFOs or drones from the Imperial Beach Police Department, which is planning a drone light show for the Fourth of July.
However, the IBPD did not claim the lights as their own.
The San Diego Police Department told ABC News on Tuesday morning that the mysterious lights were actually flares being used for military exercises.
While nearby Naval Air Station North Island and Camp Pendleton both said that they did not know what the lights were, the SDPD said that the lights had been confirmed to them by military officials as being used for exercises.
Gabe Gunlock, a Mission Hills resident, took to Twitter with a video of the lights.
Gunlock told ABC News that he did a double take around 9 p.m. on Monday night, noticing strange, bright lights far off the coast.
He explained that he lives right near the airport in the area, so there are always planes and lights near his home.
However, he said there was something different about the lights he saw off of the coast.
At 9:55 p.m., Gunlock tweeted, “Multiple floating lights over the ocean. Very still, very bright. Orange, reddish light. Patterns of 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6,” alongside a video of distant blinking lights.
Gunlock said that his Twitter post quickly gained views, with other San Diego locals acknowledging the lights and wondering what they were.
“It was a super crazy night, super fun to connect with San Diego,” Gunlock told ABC News.
Gunlock added that his post now has over 100,000 impressions on Twitter.
“All I wanted to know is, ‘what’s going on,’” he said. “It had to be miles and miles off of the coast, it was burning extremely bright.”
When Gunlock heard that the lights were from military exercises, he said that it made sense that they weren’t from the airport, especially because they were so strikingly bright.
San Diego is home to several military bases, with more than 100,000 active duty service members in the area.
Over 15,000 active duty service members transition out of active duty service in San Diego each year. According to Thomas Jefferson School of Law, over half of those transitioning out of active duty decide to stay in San Diego, where there is a deep community of over 240,000 veterans.
San Diego, home to 60% of the ships in the fleet of the U.S. Navy and one third of all active duty service members in the U.S. Marine Corps, could have more mysterious lights in the sky for its civilian neighbors in the future.
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