Atlas 5 Rocket Launch Lit Up Miami's Sky, and Everyone Freaked Out

Aliens? Nuclear strike? Nah, just an old-fashioned Cape Canaveral rocket launch.
Aliens? Nuclear strike? Nah, just an old-fashioned Cape Canaveral rocket launch.

"Oh my God," a woman intones, a shaky camera phone aimed at the sky. "There's something that is releasing a whole bunch of light in the... Oh my God!" 

No, the clip isn't the beginning of the latest insufferable "found footage" horror flick about an alien invasion. It's just one of the hundreds of tweets, Facebook updates, and cell-phone videos uploaded by terrified Miamians who spotted a freakish burst of light over the horizon early this morning.

Guys, chillax. The spectacle was the Atlas 5 rocket launching off Cape Canaveral. Since the death of NASA's space shuttle program, South Florida has lost the hang of seeing stuff blasted into the ether.

The Atlas 5 blasted off from the Space Coast just after 6 a.m. today with a new $7.6 billion Navy satellite system strapped to the nose of the 21-story rocket. The private United Launch Alliance is operating the spacecraft, which was delayed several days by the remnants of Tropical Storm Erika moving over Florida. 

The explosive engines creating the 2.5 million pounds of thrust to get the rocket into orbit also lit up the early-morning sky as the Atlas 5 arced over South Florida.

In Miami, the rocket set off a mini-War of the Worlds moment on Twitter. 


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