When I was 9 (and living on Long Island), my brother and I would often spend our evenings, looking up at the clear starry night. We were both interested in astronomy, and would entertain ourselves talking about the stars, enjoying the night.
One evening, as we stared at the sky, several bursts of colored spots appeared overhead. Each looked like a red, purple and blue bulls eye, ever widening and changing as it expanded.
There were at least 2 distinct regions, each one bigger than the moon.
My brother yelled in a mixture of fear and excitement, Spots!!
We ran inside and got my mother to come to the front door. I was scared and excited. What was this. Was it real? Could it hurt us? As we again looked to the sky, and there were new spots forming. She said "oh my, maybe a planet exploded".
The next day the newspaper was filled with reports of strange phenomena in the sky from the night before. Many were completely off the wall, including ray guns spraying backyards with laser beams.
The military said it was conducting a satellite test in orbit. But nobody believed that.