Blue sky at night lights up social media in New York

Social media users posted videos and photos of the night sky illuminated by a bright light, on Dec 27.
Social media users posted videos and photos of the night sky illuminated by a bright light, on Dec 27.PHOTOS: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP, REUTERS) - An alien invasion? The Rapture? The sky flashed an eerie blue over New York City on Thursday night (Dec 27) and social media users feared the worst.

Extraterrestrial activity was a leading theory.

"I'm sorry what???? The sky just turned blue???? Literally so confused I think aliens just tried to steal New York," one user wrote on Twitter.

Some saw the hand of God at work: "Don't worry, New Yorkers. The blue light you saw in the sky was just the Rapture," one tweet said.

Another Twitter user noted that people had been warned to change their ways: "What's happening in the sky in New York? If it's the rapture, I just wanna say I told y'all to quit it."

Many posted videos and photos of the night sky illuminated by a bright light.

In the end, the explanation turned out to be somewhat more mundane: a problem at a local power plant.

"The lights you have seen throughout the city appear to have been from a transformer explosion at a Con Ed facility in Queens. The fire is under control, will update as more info becomes available," the New York Police Department tweeted.

Con Edison, the power company, tweeted that it was working with the fire department "to respond (to) a substation fire in Astoria".

"The incident is under control. There are no injuries reported, and no fire," the fire department said.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Twitter that no one was injured. He said the light was caused by an electrical surge at the substation.

Travellers at LaGuardia Airport, which is located in Queens, were treated to potential delays as well as a light show.

"Due to a power failure at #LGA, please allow extra time when coming to the airport," the airport wrote on its Twitter account.

The anticlimactic explanation was disappointing to some.

"I wish the blue sky in New York was aliens and not a power plant on fire," one Twitter user wrote.