The explanation for what many people thought was an exploding UFO above Sacramento is no longer a mystery -- it was a weather balloon.
After HuffPost reported how Elijah Prychodzko videotaped a circular, bright aerial object through his telescope over Sacramento on Dec. 20, 2012, the volume of explanations began rolling in for the possible identity of the object.
Those included alien spacecraft, military weapons test, a runaway planet, Doomsday rock headed to Earth and shot down by the Air Force, North Korea's satellite, and, even, a hoax.
If the images above and below look similar, it's because they both show the same type of event as seen through telescopes -- the difference being that the picture above was taken over Tampa Bay, Fla., on July 2, 2012, and the one below was the object photographed over Sacramento on Dec. 20.
Many readers speculated that what Prychodzko captured on video was a weather balloon and not something that occurred in deep space.
"Obviously, something of this magnitude (planetary-size space explosion) would have been noticed by government (NASA) and or professional astronomers along with a host of amateur astronomers," 40-year veteran UFO researcher Frank Warren told HuffPost in an email.
Warren, editor and publisher of The UFO Chronicles website, did a follow-up investigation of the Sacramento video and concluded the object was clearly terrestrial in origin.
"After reviewing several videos of 'weather balloons bursting' at altitude, it leaves no question as to what the image in the Prychodzko video really is. Like any case we dig into, one either finds ancillary evidence in support of a claim, none, or just the opposite. This one fell apart rather quickly -- research 101."
In videos of weather balloon explosions -- which can be found on the Internet -- it looks like something is "orbiting" the main balloon, when, in fact, it's an instrument package called a radiosonde that swings under the balloon, giving the appearance of being in orbit around the balloon. As the balloon rises, the decreased air pressure causes it to expand until it eventually bursts.
According to NBC News.com, a forum on the Above Top Secret website includes this posting attributed to the National Weather Service Upper Air Observations Program regarding the Sacramento aerial object:
"It is very likely a weather balloon that burst. The small dot 'orbiting' the balloon was the radiosonde that was attached below it with about 70 to 100 feet of string.
"The weather balloon was likely released by the National Weather Service upper air station in Oakland, Calif., at about 3:00 p.m. local time."
Watch this very clear telescopic view of an exploding weather balloon over Tampa Bay, Fla. on July 2, 2012
Besides weather balloons, UFOs generally turn out to be easily identified objects, like these: