A mysterious light — "brilliant" and "bright," according to those who had seen it — lit up the sky over the Southwest on Wednesday night. 911 call centers across three states were flooded with reports of sightings. (Really, people? This is something you call 911 for?)

Twitter users, meanwhile, have been excitedly discussing the #fireball phenomenon. Phoenix PD's official statement on the matter: "Our air unit & other officers also observed it. We made wishes & went back to work. Nothing more to report."

According to Don Yeomans, who manages NASA's Near Earth Object Program, what residents across Phoenix, Nevada and California saw was in all likelihood an asteroid fragment, "the size of a basketball or baseball," that had entered the Earth's atmosphere and disintegrated. He said they occur with some frequency. Yeomans then boarded his covered military vehicle and returned to an underground bunker in Area 51 to begin a grueling, 72-hour alien autopsy. [CNN, stock photo via Shutterstock]