WASHINGTON - Whatever it was, it didn't represent a threat to the United States.
That's according to a statement from the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, about what appeared to be a missile launched Monday off the coast of Southern California.
The agency says there was no launch by any foreign military.
U.S. military officials say they're looking into a video that appears to show an object shooting across the sky and leaving a large vapor trail.
A Pentagon spokesman says nobody has been able to explain what the vapor trail is, or what caused it. He says "all indications" are that the Defense Department wasn't involved, and that it might have been created by something flown by a private company.
Missile tests are common off Southern California, from vessels and platforms. Normally, they would require notification so mariners and pilots could be warned.
A KCBS news helicopter crew captured footage late Monday of what appeared to be a missile in the sky northwest of Catalina Island. The video shows a point of light moving through the sky followed by a contrail, similar to a missile being launched.
"We're looking into it," said Ian Gregor of the Federal Aviation Administration. "We did not approve of any commercial launches in that area Monday."
The North American Aerospace Defense Command and the United States Northern Command issued a statement saying federal authorities were aware of the "unexplained contrail."
"At this time, we are unable to provide specific details, but we are working to determine the exact nature of this event," according to the statement. "We can confirm that there is no threat to our nation and from all indications this was not a launch by a foreign military. We will provide more information as it becomes available."
Officials at Vandenberg Air Force Base and Naval Air Station Point Mugu told the Los Angeles Times they were not responsible for the launch.