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‘Mystery-Missile’ – Likely an Airplane

Screenshot of news footage of what has been dubbed the 'mystery missle.'

What took place in the skies above California’s coastline Monday, Nov. 8? That is still being hotly debated by experts and laymen alike. What appears to be a missile firing some 35 miles off the coast of California, near the Island of Catalina appears in a KCBS news chopper footage. The Pentagon has stated that it does not know what is displayed in the images. But instead of mystery, intrigue and government coverup, there is likely a more ordinary explanation: it was an optical illusion.

The Boeing Co. every so often will deploy aircraft from San Nicolas Island. These flights are part of an anti-missile laser testing program. However, the company has announced that it had nothing in the air on Monday. According to the Orange County Register, a very similar contrail was noted off of California Coast just one year earlier.

One possible explanation for the mysterious ‘plume’ is that it was the test firing of a new commercial space rocket – there has not been any confirmation of this.

While experts at Globalsecurity.org say that more than likely what is being viewed in the video is an aircraft and its contrail approaching the camera. That matches up with what scientists that have come forward have stated – that this is nothing more than the contrail made from a jetliner. In short, this whole sensation may have been caused over an optical illusion. One caused by a large aircraft, the sunset and the odd angle that the helicopter that collected the footage was shooting from.

Moreover, local radar did not pick up any fast-moving objects during the time of the ‘launch.’ In fact, in most of the footage the ‘missile’ or ‘rocket’ appears to barely move. For those that regularly follow launches only a single snippet of the video appears to show the fiery exhaust of a rocket – but this could also be the glint of sunlight off of metal.

According to the American Aerospace Defense Command, “there is no indication of any threat to our nation.” Neither NASA nor the U.S. Missile Defense Agency were quite as forthcoming, as these organizations did not immediately release information regarding the incident. Both the U.S. Air Force and Navy have stated that they were not responsible for whatever caused the vapor trail.

This is not the first time plane contrails have been mistaken for rocket launches. See the website Contrail Science for more information and to see similar previous events.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • ILOVETHESTAR November 12, 2010, 9:25 PM

    Some of you may have seen this picture
    At first, they thought it may’ve been a bolide, however, a later picture from a different site a few miles away proved it was an unusual airline contrail.
    (Sorry, I have the 2nd picture somewhere, but I’ve tens of thousands astro pics
    and can’t find the 2nd pic)
    Nevertheless, this is an interesting picture that amazed many