It wasn’t a weather balloon, so what was it? (Cue X-Files Theme)

A grouping of bright lights captured on cell phones hovering in the night sky over Northeast El Paso this past weekend caused a flood of inquiries on social media, many wondering if they had just filmed a fleet of spacecraft’s from a galaxy far, far away.

But unlike in December when a glowing orb spotted over the Franklin Mountains had many searching for answers, it wasn’t explained away as “probably” or “most likely” a weather balloon.

In fact, our local National Weather Service office denied they were connected to it in any way, telling a local news station weather balloons are not lit up, descend rapidly, are only launched between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., and never in groups. So what were they, then? The El Paso National Weather Service official suspects it was military related.

Four years ago a similar grouping of lights caused a similar stir on the El Paso internet. The Ft. Bliss Lieutenant Colonel I spoke with at the time told me units from the base routinely conduct training exercises at night and that what people saw was most likely ‘illumination flares’ troops use as signaling devices to mark targets and/or light the area beneath and around them.

The video below of illumination rounds lighting the night sky in much the same fashion makes a pretty good case for that being the explanation of what those lights were this time as well.

Then again, maybe it was visitors from outer space. We report, you decide!

UPDATE (01/22/20): Fort Bliss officials confirmed the lights were artillery flares used as part of a training exercise in the Dona Ana training ranges.

Lights over Northeast El Paso - 1/17/20

Military Illumination Spread

Lights over El Paso - 1/17/20

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