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Bright Light in Northern California Sky Was Missile Test

A Trident II D-5 ballistic missile launches from the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS West Virginia (SSBN 736) during a missile test at the Atlantic Missile Range, June 2, 2014. (U.S. Navy photo)
A Trident II D-5 ballistic missile launches from the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS West Virginia (SSBN 736) during a missile test at the Atlantic Missile Range, June 2, 2014. (U.S. Navy photo)

SAN FRANCISCO — A bright light with a glowing tail spotted in the San Francisco Bay Area sky Tuesday was a Navy missile test that had been in the works for years.

U.S. Navy spokesman John Daniels told the East Bay Times that a submarine off the coast of California launched a Trident II D-5 missile at 3:30 a.m. and another at 6:20 a.m.

Daniels said the routine test was "not in response to any ongoing world activities" and that tests are conducted for training and maintenance of the missile system. He said the missiles fly over water, and not over inhabited areas.

The Trident II is a three-stage missile with a 4,000-mile range. Daniels said residents likely saw stage one, which lasts about a minute, and possibly part of stage two.

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