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That mysterious light in the sky? It was a SpaceX launch

SpaceX on Sunday night launched a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Los Angeles loves a show.

And Elon Musk and his team at SpaceX put one on Sunday night that managed to turn the city’s attention away from the Dodgers and to the sky — for a few minutes, at least.

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The spectacular display came when SpaceX launched — and, in a first, landed — a Falcon 9 rocket at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

There was plenty of warning that the launch was coming and that it could create some dramatic views. Many had cameras ready to capture the scene across Southern California.

But some were still caught off guard and took to social media to ask — perhaps a little too eagerly — if this was finally the alien invasion.

A similar event caused a much bigger stir last year, because fewer people had notice.

Hawthorne-based SpaceX has been landing rocket boosters regularly at its Florida launch sites, but the California landing pad could allow the company to refurbish rockets at Vandenberg. First-stage boosters that landed on SpaceX’s floating platform in the Pacific Ocean returned to the Port of Los Angeles and were then trucked to Hawthorne for refurbishment.

Here are some stunning photographs and videos of the launch:

First stage separation can be seen at right during the Space X Falcon 9 rocket launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base
First stage separation can be seen at right during the Space X Falcon 9 rocket launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

8:20 p.m.: This article was updated with more information and photographs.

This article was originally published at 7:50 p.m.

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