We wanted to believe — in something bigger than ourselves, in life from galaxies far, far away, in Santa Claus. And when a bright light shone above our heads last night sometime after 7 p.m., Twitter floated lots of ideas, invoking the godhead of the alien emoji. The Huffington Post even fanned the flames of speculation in the sky, wondering if a Geminid meteor or a missile might have been the cause.

Instead, NBC learned that a mysterious light over California and parts of Nevada was nothing more than... Russian space debris.

So no, it wasn't exactly Star Wars. But you know, the Space Race and Cold War kind of was like Star Wars — that's actually what the media nicknamed Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative ca. 1983 — so this vestige of Russian space/military might could be considered as such. Just spitballing about the fireball here.

The "facts:" US Strategic Command said the light was emitted by a Russian SL-4 rocket body upon reentry to our atmosphere somewhere in the skies above Arizona just after 7 pm. The Joint Space Operation Center weren't surprised by the event. They're tracking 16,000 objects according to Strategic Command spokesman Lt. Col. Martin O'Donnell. Bring it up with the Russian Federal Space Agency, he said. So, uh, thanks, Putin?

Related: Video: SoCal's Mysterious Missile Launch In Skies Over San Francisco