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Petaluma mystery lights explained

It looked like the Big Dipper, but the Big Dipper stays put.

Just after 9:30 Saturday night, a gliding constellation of lights in the sky prompted quite a few people to pull over and park on Petaluma Boulevard South. Jake Marble snapped pictures.

"I'm not a UFO guy," he told PD reporter Julie Johnson for a short story she posted online. Marble didn't get as worked up as some others who took in the spectacle from the side of the road, but he could not explain what he was seeing.

The incident ignited quite the lively exchange of online comments, including a couple from people with an earthly explanation: They said they were at a wedding at the Petaluma Golf and Country Club that night and watched the launch of sky lanterns, essentially hand-held hot air balloons illegal in California.

Presumably, the newlyweds and their guests made wishes as they released the lanterns. It appears at least someone uttered, "Please don't let these airborne incendiaries set the fire that will mark the end of the world as we know it."


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