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Yesterday's Mystery Missile Was Probably a Plane

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 43 comments

So that 'missile' launched off the coast of LA? Not a missile, apparently.

This week, the U.S. military has been investigating the case of what people are calling 'the mystery missile.' A recent video shot by KCBS cameraman Gil Leyvas showed a missile-like object being fired into the sky about 35 miles off the coast of California. The clip, shot from a news helicopter over Los Angeles, stumped the Navy and the Air Force and both claimed the missile isn't theirs. Further, the North American Air Defense Command, the unit that tracks incoming missiles, said it had not been fired by another country.

Right now, there are two camps; those who believe it was a missile and those who think it was a plane. Looking at the size of the trail, some experts believe it has to be a government operation.

"It can't belong to anyone but the military," Marco Caceres, an analyst with aerospace research firm Teal Group, told the LA Times.

Similarly, USC professor of astronautics, Mike Gruntman told the Times that he thinks it’s a missile, but couldn't say for sure.

"It looks like a missile to me," he said. "But I cannot rule out that this is some kind of jet aircraft."

So Caceres believes it was a military exercise gone awry. However, on the other side of things, the Pentagon says its investigation turned up no evidence that a missile was fired in the area at the time of the incident. What's more, the Federal Aviation Authority says it did not approve any commercial space launches in the area. An anonymous source from the FAA also spoke to the LA Times and said that there were commercial planes in the area at the time.

If words from the Pentagon and the FAA aren't enough to calm your nerves about this supposed missile, ContrailScience.com also believes, for a number of reasons, that this is not a missile trail. For one, author Unicinus says the speed of the object is not consistent with that of a missile. For another, the angle, the lighting and the shape of the Earth should be considered when looking at the trail as all of these factors play a part in making an ordinary jet trail look like a much bigger plume from a missile. Lastly, the site has posted pictures proving that this is not the first time we've mistaken a jet trail for a missile.

Below are two pictures of a similar trail that occurred in December last year, and, bottom, a video of yesterday's "missile."

Mystery Missile Launch Seen off Calif. Coast - CBS News

The cherry on the cake is Contrail Science's suggestion that yesterday's trail was made by US Airways flight 808 from Hawaii to Phoenix. Uncinus writes that if people in the vicinity look to the skies at the same time today, about 5-5:30pm, and the weather is right, they should see the same thing.

Did you ever think the contrail was from a missile? Do you still think so? Let us know!

*Images via ContrailScience

Source: CBS, LA Times, ContrailScience

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Top Comments
  • 25 Hide
    Mottamort , November 10, 2010 9:19 PM
    Do you still think the contrail was from a missile? Do you still think so?

    Do you always ask the same question twice? do you always?


    ^_^
  • 15 Hide
    jj463rd , November 10, 2010 9:24 PM
    Yeah probably a German Luftwaffe Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet rocket interceptor.
  • 14 Hide
    JMcEntegart , November 10, 2010 9:29 PM
    MottamortDo you still think the contrail was from a missile? Do you still think so? Do you always ask the same question twice? do you always?^_^


    Oops, thanks! All fixed!!

    MottamortHEY! no editing the news clip...now my first post seems stupid. NEW I should've done it under quotes


    Shh, calm! Give me a second. We're not all lightening fast commenters! : (
Other Comments
    Display all 43 comments.
  • 25 Hide
    Mottamort , November 10, 2010 9:19 PM
    Do you still think the contrail was from a missile? Do you still think so?

    Do you always ask the same question twice? do you always?


    ^_^
  • 1 Hide
    robochump , November 10, 2010 9:24 PM
    People thought it was a missile because the contrail was so large and was moving straight up when in fact it is the same size as contrails seen high above but appear smaller due to distance. Just interesting to see one so close to the deck, must have been a very frosty morning!
  • 15 Hide
    jj463rd , November 10, 2010 9:24 PM
    Yeah probably a German Luftwaffe Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet rocket interceptor.
  • 9 Hide
    Mottamort , November 10, 2010 9:27 PM
    HEY! no editing the news clip...now my first post seems stupid. NEW I should've done it under quotes :D 
  • 14 Hide
    JMcEntegart , November 10, 2010 9:29 PM
    MottamortDo you still think the contrail was from a missile? Do you still think so? Do you always ask the same question twice? do you always?^_^


    Oops, thanks! All fixed!!

    MottamortHEY! no editing the news clip...now my first post seems stupid. NEW I should've done it under quotes


    Shh, calm! Give me a second. We're not all lightening fast commenters! : (
  • 3 Hide
    Mottamort , November 10, 2010 9:33 PM
    JMcEntegartOops, thanks! All fixed!!Shh, calm! Give me a second. We're not all lightening fast commenters! : (


    Haha. touché. :) 
  • 13 Hide
    jhansonxi , November 10, 2010 9:48 PM
    It's just another government cover-up and Tom's is part of it.
  • 12 Hide
    azcoyote , November 10, 2010 9:48 PM
    Still seems a bit fishy to me... What I saw looks very much like a launch....
  • 4 Hide
    dredg98 , November 10, 2010 10:05 PM
    its a V3 Nazi Rocket
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , November 10, 2010 10:06 PM
    Undecided as to what it was but i'm sure we will find out soon enough! :-)
  • -1 Hide
    nforce4max , November 10, 2010 10:08 PM
    No it was not and it isn't from a plane. One can clearly seen on the police dash cam video and video taken by other people as well still pictures tells a different story that it is indeed a missile. Also there was a second one seen outside Phoenix Arizona with similar characteristics. Some sources indicate this may have been a test of a new missile technology that wasn't indicated on publicly available schedules from the military and why they say that they didn't know was due to national security reasons how ever others were saying that there is much more behind and it may have political implications as a message to China. China in the past years alongside Russia have invested heavily in directed energy weapons and electronic warfare that has the higher ups in the military on edge.
  • 0 Hide
    sonic-boom , November 10, 2010 10:25 PM
    clearly its a north korean missle
  • 2 Hide
    mavroxur , November 10, 2010 10:30 PM
    That is definately NOT an aircraft. The angle of ascent, size of the contrail, and the light from the engine indicate otherwise. And based on it's point of liftoff, i'd agree that it was launched from a sub. As far as it being an intentional launch to flex military muscle or a test/training/accidental launch, i'm sure the public will NEVER know the truth on that, or it will be "declassified" 20 years from now.
  • 3 Hide
    Shadow703793 , November 10, 2010 10:54 PM
    jj463rdYeah probably a German Luftwaffe Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet rocket interceptor.

    Of course! I hear they still have those in storage in South America....
  • 0 Hide
    adamboy64 , November 10, 2010 11:00 PM
    azcoyoteStill seems a bit fishy to me... What I saw looks very much like a launch....


    Yes, I tend to agree. Also, Uncinus telling people to expect the same thing around 5:00-5:30pm today.. He's just covering it up as an aircraft as they're going to launch another one.
  • 0 Hide
    mikem_90 , November 10, 2010 11:16 PM
    Some people were quoting an FAA advisory, I am not sure where that went to.
  • 5 Hide
    southernshark , November 10, 2010 11:25 PM
    Looks like a missile to me. I've seen plenty rocket launches from NASA and that's what they look like. But don't believe your owns. Believe what you are TOLD.
  • 3 Hide
    Hupiscratch , November 10, 2010 11:49 PM
    Wait! Someone launched a Skynet satellite? RUN TO THE MOUNTAINS!
  • 4 Hide
    Parsian , November 11, 2010 12:13 AM
    lol this is so epic. I so want it to be a 'leet' 's backyard project.

    News reporter: "The missile launched last week was from a resident. After FBI broke into his house, they found a missile silo in his backyard. It was later discovered, the man was an employee of Lockheed Martin Skunkwork whose job was out-sourced to china."
  • 5 Hide
    accolite , November 11, 2010 12:24 AM
    Funny, if it's a plane than it must be on fire! Cuz I have never seen a plane with a flame after it unless it was on fire?
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