NASA says it successfully launched a rocket in Virginia as part of an experiment, and the blast may have caused dozens of people to report seeing strange lights in the sky.

The space agency said it launched the Black Brant XII on Saturday evening to gather data on the highest clouds in the Earth’s atmosphere. About the time of the launch, dozens of people in the Northeast started calling local television stations to report seeing strange lights.

The calls came from as far away as Boston, which is about 380 miles (610 km.) northeast of the launch site.

The rocket is designed to create an artificial cloud. NASA hopes the experiment will provide information on the formation and properties of noctilucent clouds, which occur at high altitudes.

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