Home » contrails » A Problem of Perspective – New Year’s Eve Contrail

A Problem of Perspective – New Year’s Eve Contrail

UPDATE – After geting a new photo of the trail, Liam Bahneman told me he was now siding with it being his second choice, UPS902.  Having reviewed the evidence, I fully agree that UPS902 is a much better fit than AWE808, especially when viewed against the composite photo.

UPS902 Turns out to be a much better fit



Note to everyone else – If you have photos of the Nov 8 contrail from any angle, please email them to [email protected]

[This post was originally from Jan 19th, 2010.  I’ve updated it with information about the “Mystery Missile” contrail of Nov 8, 2010, at the bottom of this post.  Clearly it’s the same thing]

An interesting contrail cropped up off the coast of San Clemente, Orange County, California on December 31st 2009. The curious shape led some people to think it’s a missile launch, which it does kind of look like (all taken from San Clemente)

"Missile-like" contrail. Note this is the Dec 31st contrail, not the Nov 8th CBS one. That's at the bottom of the post.

This kind of contrail confusion is nothing new. This article appeared in The San Mateo Times, Jan 12, 1950:

Here’s some more shots of the same contrail. Click these for larger images:

The idea that it’s a missile launch comes from three misconceptions. Firstly that the trail is vertical – it’s not, it’s a horizontal trail, at around 32,000 feet (about six miles). It’s the same as this:

This contrail is no more vertical than the road is, and nor are the power lines at 45 degrees. Everything is horizontal – it’s the just the angle you are viewing it from. All of these show horizontal contrails.

Secondly there’s the misconception of direction, that it’s flying away from the viewer, when it’s actually flying towards the viewer. This is because the “base” of the contrail seems wider than the tip. Perspective tells the brain that this mean the base is closer. But actually you can see the base has been greatly spread by the wind. Since it’s so far away the effects of perspective are greatly diminished, meaning the actual width of the contrail is what is creating the illusion. Imagine if a plane with a 100 mile long spreading contrail were coming towards you; what would it look like? It would look exactly like this.

Thirdly there’s the idea that it goes all the way down to the ground. Now that might be true if the Earth was flat, but the Earth is round, and things go beneath the horizon eventually, no matter how high they are. A plane 200 miles away but five miles up is always below the horizon. If the horizon is raised (as it is here, with Catalina Island), then the distance is less. Here’s some math:

This diagram is not to scale, but the math is the same regardless. The solid curved line is the surface of the earth. The dot at the top is San Clemente. The little triangle is Catalina. “d” is the distance to Catalina (d=35 miles). “c” the amount of Catalina that is visible above the horizon (c=0.05 miles, really a bit more, but let’s be conservative). “a” is the altitude of the plane, (a = 6 miles). “r” is the radius of the earth (r=3963 miles).

The green wavy line is the contrail. Notice it’s at a fixed height above the surface of the earth, and is going directly towards the OC.

The point labeled (0,0) is the center of the earth. (0,0) means X=0, Y=0, where X is horizontal and Y is vertical. What we want to know is how far away the plane is, the value x. We do this with cartesian geometry, noting that the lowest visible point of the trail is at the intersection of the dotted line, which is a circle of radius (r+a), hence the equation x^2 + y^2 = (r+a)^2 and the line labeled “sight line”, which is has the equation y=r+x*c/d. Combining these equations to solve for x yields a quadratic equation, which we can solve with Wolfram Alpha:

intersection of (y=r+x*c/d) and (x^2+y^2 = (r+a)^2)

and with the real numbers:

intersection of (y=r+x*c/d) and (x^2+y^2 = (r+a)^2) where a=6 and d=35 and c=0.05 and r=3963

Which gives x = 212, meaning that the bottom of the contrail is around 200 miles away. So if the front of the contrail (the actual aircraft) is somewhere above and behind catalina, then that means the contrail is over 100 miles long. At 500 mph, that means it could have formed in 12-15 minutes, which seems consistent with the descriptions in the discussion above. (feel free to play around with the numbers there to see the affect of various assumptions)

Looking at the satellite image for noon on that day (12/31/2009) and the next day (1/1/2010), we see contrails in approximately the same position, and around 100 miles long, showing it’s quite possible, given the right weather.

Really what makes this odd looking is the position of the people taking the photo. Obviously the same contrail would be visible all the way up the coast, however the only people who though it was really odd were those who were lined up with it, in OC. People in LA would see a dramatic looking contrail, but more obviously just a contrail, so less worthy of writing to the newspaper about. I actually saw it myself, but was in a car, and could only get a poor cell-phone snapshot:

A cell-phone photo I took of the New Year Eve contrail, from an angle that shows it's just a jet contrail

That was from somewhere around San Diamas, on the 210 freeway, so I’m looking South West, probably around 45 degree the the contrail, which you can only see a bit of behind the Home Depot sign. It looked quite impressive at the time.  But  there are other photos of it from various other angles which show it’s contrail-ness more clearly, here’s one taken from Santa Monica (click photo for original):

The actual New Years Eve contrail, viewed from Santa Monica. This is what the CBS "missile" contrail would have looked like to most people in LA, which is why nobody reported it.

You can see from this angle (and taken a bit earlier) it looks far less interesting, as it’s very apparent it’s just a contrail.

Scott Methvin sent in these two images which shows the contrail in all it’s missile-like glory, but from a better angle.

The Dec 31st contrail, from Laguna Beach

Same contrail slightly later.

Here’s another angle of the New Year’s Eve contrail, this view is from Corona del Mar, about 20 miles Northeast of San Clemente:

Another angle on the New Years Eve contrail. See, it's all about perspective.

Here’s a similar photo (of a different contrail, obviously) on the same day at the other side of the country:

Not a missile launch.

Here’s some more contrails at sunset (From a very nice set of contrail photos), note how they look exactly the same as sections of the New Year contrail:

Obviously not missiles. But look at sections of the trails.

Not a missile launch, in Michigan.

[Update Nov 9 2010]

Now here’s the one everyone is actually talking about.  From Monday Nov 8th 2010, this time it video taken a local CBS news crew in a helicopter, so they were able to zoom in.

Jet contrail, misidentified as a missile launch, again.

Note it’s pretty much in the same location. Note also it’s not exactly moving at missile speed.  Note also it’s practically identical to the photos of plane contrails, above.

Same as last time, maybe even the same scheduled flight.

And once again millions of people failed to notice, because from any other angle it looked like what it was, a contrail, from a plane.  Must be a slow news day, as this went all the way up to Jim Miklaszewski asking people at the pentagon about it.

There are occasional flashes of light, which I think are reflections of the sun off a flat surface on the plane.  There’s also portions of the video where a bit of the trail behind the plane seems to glow.  I think thats just the last rays of the setting sun lighting that portion of the trail. See Scott Methvin’s photos, above for how the trail can be oddly lit from minute to minute.

Here’s a better video. You can see after about 0:50 it’s out of the contrail-persisting region of air, and is just leaving a short contrail. It’s also now out of the sun. It looks exactly like the short contrails of a jet coming towards the camera with perspective foreshortening.  The camera crew lost it in the darkness shortly after that.

http://www.necn.com/11/09/10/Mysterious-missile-launched-off-Californ/landing_scitech.html?blockID=348833&feedID=4213

The most likely flight initially seemed to be US Aiways flight 808 from Hawaii to Phoenix.  But UPS flight 902 was also ona  similar track.

http://flightaware.com/live/flight/AWE808

US Airways flight 808, at around 5PM PST (Sunset)

I snapped the above web image at around 5:05PM today, about the same time as the video was taken yesterday.

Here’s the actual track from the 8th:

http://flightaware.com/live/flight/AWE808/history/20101108/1955Z/PHNL/KPHX

And here’s a photo I took (Nov 9th) two minutes earlier from Santa Monica.  I think it’s the same flight, just 24 hours later.  Note that the angle is exactly the same as the Dec 31st contrail that produced the original “missile” story.

Contrail from flight 808 (verified with Google Earth and radar data). View from Santa Monica, 5:01PM

Obviously the video would have to have been taken from way off to the right in this photo (I’m looking South West). The chopper would have been somewhere like Torrance.

[Update again]
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/11/cameraman-who-filmed-mystery-missile-describes-spectacular-sight.html

The cameraman reports:

Cameraman Gil Leyvas shot video of a luminous point hurtling through the sky followed by a long vapor trail. He said he was aboard the television station’s helicopter shooting footage of the sunset over the ocean about 5:15 p.m when he noticed the spiral-shaped vapor trail and zoomed in to get a better look.

The onboard camera showed a plume twisting up from the horizon and narrowing as it climbed into the sky near Catalina Island, about 35 miles west of Los Angeles, he said.

“Whatever it was, it was spinning up into the sky kind of like a spiral,” and was easy to distinguish from condensation trails from jets, he said. “It was quite a sight to see. It was spectacular.”

I suspect what he saw (which can only be what is on the video, I’d like to see it in HD) is the twisting of the contrails, this can be quite dramatic, especially from such a head-on angle. See this video of a similar perspective, and note the swirling twists in the contrails directly behind the jet.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xl6iR7w7a_Q

Here’s a grab from that video, showing the twist, and how it as accented by low sun.

Twisting contrails in low sun.

Liem Bahneman gives this excellent description of how flight AWE808 exactly matches the observations, including producing a near identical contrail the next day (which I also photographed, from Santa Monica, above)

This pretty much explains it.

And here’s some excellent points from a real rocket scientist, posting as “Michael”:

I’d like to add to all the evidence above that it was just a jet, because the plume is nothing like a rocket plume to the trained eye. I was a rocket safety inspector for 3 years, have seen countless launches and failures, and have a master’s degree in Astronautical Engineering. Here’s why it’s not a rocket:

It’s too slow (<— biggest reason).
There’s no engine flare.
There’s no expansion of the plume (as the chamber pressure exceeds the atmospheric pressure more and more during flight).
There’s no staging event.
There’s no sunset striations across the plume (which would look like this: http://tinyurl.com/2vklwu5).
In the wide shot there’s two contrails (off each wing!) instead of one.
The plume at the plane is twirling in different directions (very un-rocket-like).
The plume at the plane is twirling too much — that only happens in the case of a motor burn-through, which is a failure mode, meaning it would be seconds from exploding if it were a rocket.
The wind-blown plume is all wrong, vertical plumes go through several different wind shear layers, which makes it look very different than what the video shows.

The apparent direction of the jet is a bit of an illusion, as the trail is greatly distorted by the winds at altitude, which can also vary greatly from place to place. At 37,000 feet the wind can easily be in the 50-100 mph range.

Richard Warren of Long Beach shot four close-up photos of the trail from a fixed position in Long Beach. I’ve combined them here into one photo, where you can see the trail move with the wind, and the actual path that the plane takes is much more obviously passing to the south of Long Beach, matching flight 808.

And the fact that it’s a plane is way more apparent once it stops making a contrail (which is due to it moving between two regions of air – it’s colder and/or more humid out to sea than inland)

Richard took a fifth shot at a wider angle that shows the greater context. The jet is still visible as a dark speck (it’s still got a very short contrail). There’s also a very impressive crepuscular “edge” shadow that’s probably cast by part of the contrail that is over the horizon.

A couple of days later a new photo of the trail was discovered from a known time, heading  and position, this allowed the location of the trail to be triangulated, and it became apparent that UPS902 was a better fit than AWE808.  This video shows how the UPS trail fits with the picture above:

The UPS filight is also a bette fit as it has three engines (MD-11) and hence gives a more solid contrail.

202 thoughts on “A Problem of Perspective – New Year’s Eve Contrail

  1. MikeC says:

    Hank no I’m not 15 – but I’m not surprised that hoaxers like you head straight to the ad hominem.

    You are wrong – this was an aeroplane. There is no “reasonable possibility” that it was anything else.

    The only possibolity that it was anything else is in the same realms as Bill Clinton being a reptiloid – there’s “video” of that too IIRC.

    Mean? Sure – if you are perpetrating the hoax I am being mean to you.

    That’s what the old saying means – the truth hurts – but only when you choose to believe the fairy tale.

  2. What a party pooper! I’ve been pimping the UFO angle ever since the news media started going wild! That and the Chinese submarine off the coast ‘testing’ slow missiles.

    Now I’m stuck with Obama’s birth certificate …

  3. Paul says:

    I found this site doing some simple research, mainly using Google to compare the trails of missile launches and jet contrails. There were only a few images I could find that showed missile trails after they had been in the air for a while. They looked so dissimilar to jet contrails that it is hard to mistake one for the other. Don’t take my word for it, run your own search.

    And I never believed it was a missile. I’ve seen enough jet contrails to recognize one.

  4. Michael diLorenzo says:

    Holy cow, you’re on top of this. Very educational, and a pleasure to read. Keep up the excellent work, so that the occasional visitor like me can learn a thing or two!

  5. Craig says:

    This is an intelligence test and you conspiracy wingnuts have failed it miserably.

    I’ve had quite enough of the, shall we say, uneducated and ignorant people perpetuating the myth that this is a missile launch. It is definitively NOT a missile. Others have pointed out in detail why this is a contrail, but many of you are so mired in your hatred of the government or the military or both, that coupled with your ignorance creates something appalling. I truly fear for the future of this nation when so many are so clearly ignorant and uneducated. All you need is some basic high-school level geometry and possibly some basic physics to know that this could not possibly be a rocket powered missile of any kind. Add in some logic about the circumstances and the fact that this is a contrail becomes crystal clear beyond doubt. There is nothing debatable about it at all, it’s black and white, everything you need to prove this is a contrail is in the video. You don’t even need to see other photos for comparison – there are more than enough visual clues in the video. But it’s OK – You all are entitled to be dumb as stumps, just do us all a favor and keep your genetic material out of the gene pool – based on the level, er, lack of intelligence displayed by most of you, the gene pool is already too shallow.

    If any of you conspiracy theorists found the preceding to be condescending and mean, I meant it to be. Your very existence coupled with your ignorance makes life harder for all of us, and that makes me mad. There are enough real problems in the world, and plenty of reasons to be pissed off at the government, but a commercial flight leaving a contrail isn’t one of them.

    I commend Uncinus for his patience in dealing with the intellectually challenged, I have no idea how he does it without blowing a gasket.

  6. TheFactsMatter says:

    “To express doubt about the explanation of a certain phenomenon is not to “perpetrate a hoax.” In my case, it’s to point out that there is still some reasonable possibility of other explanations. ”

    Actually, the only reasonable explanation is that it’s a persistent contrail. The other explanations are unreasonable and based on belief, not the facts as we see them in the video. It’s WAY too slow to be any sort of “missile”. I could claim it’s a “god fart” and refuse to accept any other explanation. That won’t make me right. Just as with the “chemtrail” /contrail “debate”…making the claim that the trails are “chemtrails” while ignoring all the research on the subject for the last 9 decades (plus) is a stance based on belief (and fear), not on actual evidence. If one were to base their beliefs solely on the evidence at hand, there is NO WAY that one could conclude that the object in that video is a “missile”. It just doesn’t make any sense. It’s obvious that belief outweighs knowledge for a frightening number of people.

    Craig wrote:

    “I truly fear for the future of this nation when so many are so clearly ignorant and uneducated. ”

    Craig, I’m with you! I see a very bleak future where people have convinced themselves that they don’t need a formal education because they believe that all the information they need is available to them on the Internet. This ‘chemtrail” nonsense is a perfect example of WHY people shouldn’t self teach themselves about anything! How is one able to determine that a source is reliable?! Is the snot nosed 13 year old in his mother’s basement someone that one should take advice about “chemtrails” from?! Or the crazy sprinkler lady?! NO! These are NOT reliable sources of information! But, if you go to dbootsthediva’s channel on youtube, you will see that hundreds of people “learn” their science from “the crazy sprinkler lady”! It’s heartbreaking! There is just no way to discern truth from crap on the Internet. So, one simply follows their “beliefs” and accepts nonsense that agrees with their beliefs, while rejecting scientific fact that opposes those beliefs. It’s called confirmation bias, and I see no way to stop it. As people fool themselves into accepting bad information as fact, they fall deeper down the rabbit hole. It’s quite sad to witness….and “chemtrail” believers are a perfect example.

    Just be careful with words like “uneducated” and “ignorant” here. Even though these words are NOT insults and they certainly apply to the chemmies, the politeness policy that has been implemented on this blog doesn’t allow such terms to be used. Too many people equate the word “ignorant” with “stupid” and we don’t want to insult anyone….do we:)

  7. TheFactsMatter says:

    When I wrote ” It’s obvious that belief outweighs knowledge for a frightening number of people.” I meant that the value of ones beliefs outweigh the value of the knowledge. It’s so true. I don’t like religious debate but i’m going to use it as an example…..

    There are just a few main religions and all of them can’t be “truth”. But, billions of people in these religions claim that based on their beliefs, they are “right” and the billions of others who don’t agree with them, are are “wrong”. Of course, even though no one can “prove” that one religion is any more true than the other, the belief remains equally strong on all sides. Everyone knows they’re right.

    These beliefs could be further divided among cults and sects…all of whom believe they are in possession of absolute truth.

    I don’t claim absolute truth. I don’t claim to know any more about any one subject than anyone else. EVIDENCE is the key word that so many people refuse to accept as a necessary part of the overall picture. I know a little about aviation because It’s been an interest of mine for 40+ years. The information that has been available to me over the years is the peer reviewed scientific fact as understood by the entire world …and it’s painfully obvious that there are so many folks who ignore (notice how the word ‘ignore’ is a root-word of ignorant?!) all that information and accept bullshit (no, really…what you believe your “friends have taught you” online is crap…absolute doo doo) as fact only because they are overly suspicious of people they know nothing about. That’s up to the line of paranoia. Am I mistaken?

    Hey, I don’t like throwing out that word. It’s mean, and i admit it. But, because i know what I know about the trails in the sky, I can’t help but conclude that based on the evidence and knowledge I accept as truth and fact, there are a LOT of people who are too distrusting of others because they have some sort of mental illness. I’m only trying to suggest that if they are often told that they have some problems, it may be a good idea to seek help…even if it’s only to talk to someone trained in aviation and psychology. It can’t hurt.

    I’ll admit it, I’m not perfect. I have aspergers syndrome. And yes, I’m an asshole. I fully admit that because of my physiology, I have terrible social skills. As a younger man i focused my attention on aviation to make up for some awkward social behavior. I still had plenty of girlfriends because I also happened to be a hot hunk of man with a strong sexual desire and lots of cool toys….I’m not the average geek. 🙂

    It just PAINS me so much to know that Uncinus devotes his time to people who can’t appreciate his efforts. The man (do I even know he’s a man?!) is so open to suggestion and accepts criticism of his site like a gentleman. I have yet to see anyone who is able to show that the information on this site is false or misleading in any way. Yet, I see numerous claims that he’s paid to run this website. Who would pay anyone to post the facts as they can be found in any book on the subjects?! It’s ridiculous!
    And that’s another thing…dammit…So many people believe they can find the factual information about any subject just by googling a word or two. Actual textbooks are NOT going to show up in these searches. The material is available online…but scattered about (or on pay sites). Books explain things in a well thought out and executed way…not all segmented and scattered. I can’t emphasize this point enough, but it seems to be ignored by so many. PLEASE go to the library. And no, I’m not asking those who won’t trust the “government tainted” information in these books to read them. Those people are beyond help.

    Sorry for the rant. I had some extra time this AM. Happy Veterans Day to all who have served. Thank you.

  8. DWDavis says:

    To make this analysis stick, a better candidate than Flight 808 will have to be found. If you pull up this flight path for 11/8 and switch FlightAware to 3D/Google Earth view mode, you can position the viewpoint to a position near that of the news chopper and look at the flight path plot:

    http://i162.photobucket.com/albums/t276/danielwdavis/The%20Mystery%20Missile/awe808-2010-11-08-from-copter-position.jpg

    As you can see, the 3D plot of the flight path arcs away towards the south, which absolutely eliminates this flight as a possible solution.

    While I realize that this experiment lacks precision, it is considerably more verifiable than watching beachcams or wisps of contrail on sat images. To have seen flight 808 with the trajectory recorded in the video, the chopper would have to have been positioned about 70 miles further south near the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

  9. Craig says:

    Watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2UGugR_-gU&feature=related of the same “event” and note that as the plane descends (around :39 as another plane flys through the frame), the contrail changes from highly persistent to more temporary, Since the angle of view is head on the plane appears to be ascending even though it is actually descending. Also note the persistent winds at altitude seem to be in a southernly direction given the dissipation of the contrail spreads to the south, thus adding to the illusion that the plane is ascending to the north west, even though it is really flying a little south of east and descending. Also note that the plane does appear to be going in a south easterly direction as it passes overhead of the observer.

    Regardless, I cannot prove definitively that this is flight 808. All I know for certain is that it is a jet power aircraft at altitude.

  10. disgruntled says:

    Both NOAA and the NGA issued advisories regarding missile launches in the area this week. A bunch of experts have also come up with elaborate as well as simple explanations where this is a rocket, not a plane. Does that make them chemtrail believers? Give me a break.

  11. NetGear says:

    Ok… let’s move on to something less controversial. Who killed JFK? Surely those bullets had some form of contrail. I’m going to wait until the gov decides to spill the beans. I’m out’a here. Take care, everybody.

    Great site, by the way.

  12. Craig says:

    “A bunch of experts have also come up with elaborate as well as simple explanations where this is a rocket, not a plane. Does that make them chemtrail believers? ”

    No, it just makes them wrong…

  13. tutta says:

    besides this excellent website, the reason why I dont think it was a missile or rocketplane or whatever is that if it was government/military op then a spokesman would simply refuse to “confirm or deny” what it is. simple

  14. Steve says:

    Alex Jones article with the claim that the contrail explanation by the pentagon was just a cover story for a Chinese missile show of force. I kid you not.
    http://www.infowars.com/wayne-madsen-china-fired-missile-seen-in-southern-california/

  15. Mike says:

    I hear they’re also digging a very, very deep hole. Vewy sneaky! Vewy cwever!

  16. DWDavis says:

    @Craig: Just trying to advocate accuracy here. Even given the idea of a southerly wind distortion of the contrail affecting the apparent trajectory of the object, the salient point is that Flight 808 never passed overhead. Its flight path intersects the coastline at a point just north of the San Onofre nuclear plant, about 70 miles to the south. From the chopper’s position, its contrail would have been, as the Google Earth plot shows, much further to the cameraman’s left on the horizon, with a much more noticeably horizontal contrail. It’s not your perp.

    Has anyone looked at other candidates that might yield a closer match?

  17. DWDavis says:

    I’m also concerned about the superimposed photo sequence in the original post. The person who took the original pictures appears not to have been in a fixed position (the source page itself doesn’t provide any information in that regard). The small contrail immediately behind the object should align with an arc drawn through each instance of it in the composite photo. Since they don’t, I think using the tall building as a reference point turned it into a central pivot point for the line of sight between the camera and the object, creating the illusion of movement towards the south.

  18. Artyom says:

    @FaithinScience!!! HAhaha! I read on one site that we used a submarine to scare Americans with a nuke launch off their shore…. Then I realized it was LA!!! HAHAHHAHA!!! x))) *Palm Face*…. yeah funky contrail at the right angle. This is proof that the herd is just that much closer to starting a war over VAPOR.

  19. Mr. Suntour says:

    Contrail science is my favorite website, thanks for providing this forum Uncinus!

  20. Artyom says:

    @Steve, the bottom of the nutty bucket on the Jone’s site is just getting deeper and deeper!!! Their following has some real “interesting” people.

  21. JFDee says:

    To those who still think that what they saw in the heli video must be smoke, not contrail:

    There is a good example of what sun illumination from a certain angle can do:
    http://www.skystef.be/images/Contrail/UAE380-2008-12-28-1646-Kampenhout.jpg

    Here is the full page, search for “28/12/08” (European date notation):
    http://www.skystef.be/contrail-special.htm

    Thanks to Suntour for finding this site.
     

  22. Stupid says:

    @ Steve re:infowars china missile…I can’t believe the chutzpa of the infowars “story”. Talk about “spin”….??!!
    @Mike….love your posts……most entertaining verbiage, even in a midst (mist) of contrail of confusion…..or of chemtrail of delusion.

    Unicus has already pointed to THE MOST obvious proof that this is a normal contrail from a scheduled commercial jet.
    http://blog.bahneman.com/content/it-was-us-airways-flight-808
    (….where two such “trails” happened in 48 hours, was proven with photography, and reference to verifiable flight paths.)

    The fact that people continue to claim it “must have been a missile”, is very baffling….because there is NO evidence it was a missile. But there IS physical evidence it was an aircraft. (flight records, consistent airspeed, radar data, video tape, photography…).
    So, we have flight records, consistent airspeed, radar data, video tape…proving it was an average aircraft. What evidence do we have that it was a missile ??
    umm….
    …..wait, I’ll think of something….oh yeah, it “looked” like a missile, because it’s tail (trail) was big and bright…..and other people think it was, as well.

    Let me explain why those two observations can be deceiving to the average viewer (person).
    …….
    With the sun is behind a cloud (btw, a contrail is a type of cloud, induced by man (a plane)), the particles within that cloud, will be foreshortened when viewed from a distance. Or better explained as….we are seeing a condensed view of all the particles.
    Let’s assume this is a normal cloud, several miles wide. If we were directly under that cloud, and the sunset light hits it, we might see a pretty faint orange light kiss the cloud, as the sun sets.
    But if we observe the same (miles wide) cloud from 75 miles away….that miles-wide cloud now looks like a thin sliver, because it is not directly overhead……and what was faint orange will now be seen as a bright orange because the light that the miles-wide cloud reflects, is concentrated in a thin sliver……..same light reflected, but in a smaller space (a sliver).

    Foreshortening is usually best explained as….standing on some railroad tracks, and noticing they are wide apart at our feet, but seem to converge (meet) at the horizon.
    http://seeingconnexions.com/images/perspective/railwaytracks2.jpg

    But the “mysterious images in question don’t do that”, “they seem to be constant width…they’re not smaller at the horizon!!”. This is true, but we must factor in the “spreading” of the contrails over time, that normally takes place. As the contrails are laid by the aircraft, the begin to spread out….the widen.
    Add that the sun is amplifying the brightness of the contrails because of foreshortening (the concentrating of light-borne particles)….you then you have the illusion that confuses people.

    Listen, all these things I said….are verifiable. So before you discount them based on political and/or personal ideals….please check them out on your own research quest.
    Thanks…
    =S=

  23. Artyom says:

    There is a new prisonplanet story, with Wayne Madsen claiming it was a Chinese Submarine that fired a missile…. These stories are becoming embarrassing to the human race…

    http://www.prisonplanet.com/wayne-madsen-china-fired-missile-seen-in-southern-california.html

    It is amazing how far they’ll go with this stuff… Heightened tensions between two countries all because of a contrail from a domestic flight… I am sure China is pounding their heads on the wall with frustration over stupidity that manifests itself. People will still believe what ever they come up with in these stories, despite them providing no explanations and proof…

    Let alone, if China managed to do this, it would be crossing the boundaries of Peace…. It would tarnish China’s image, which they have no intention of doing. They are excelling already in their Foreign Policies. This would be like 10 steps back. My guess is the US media and the people miss a great enemy which they can compete with compared to Terrorism which is boring for the press. However this is just my opinion.

  24. lllcornlll says:

    Basically there are 4 websites (or people) who decided that this was a 757 jet. None have any real proof or data to prove their point. Just theories and random information to support their theories.
    Before the media picked up on these websites our government had no idea what it was. When the media picked up on them the government says it is “probably” a plane. Now the media is reporting it to be a plane with no proof. Right now I am almost glad the story is dying down because I have spent way too much time following it.
    I have read every article I could find on the net about this. And most comments. It is pretty much half for the jet theory and half against. I am against it. It simply looks like a missile launch. Although there are some things that do raise questions, it looks much more like a missile or rocket than a passenger jet. None of the “experts” who say it is not a missile are qualified to do so. None have any real proof. And all have various reasons to stick with their story. (site traffic, fame, previous positions- i.e. pike)
    As far as I know, NORAD, the D.O.D., and the FAA have not released official statements and have no information posted on their websites. A little fishy to me.
    Even though this case seems to be solved in the media, it does not seem to be solved in the comments on the web. I guarantee someone in the government is monitoring these posts and all these comments, and they know that people are not convinced. The first job of government is to protect, so don’t you think they would like to put our minds at ease? If this was a passenger jet there should be no problem coming up with proof and it would have been released to the public by now. We are all being lied to but some of us can’t handle it, so we will believe anything.
    No one knows for sure what that was, at least no one who has spoken out so far, and anyone claiming to know for a fact should be automatically discounted.
    People need to keep asking until it is proven one way or another. I like the fact that this website has asked the media to film flight 808 and I would like them to take that a step further and ask the media why it was reported that the sky lit up in L.A. if it was a plane, and who saw it.
    I live 5 miles from the space center and have seen dozens if not hundreds of launches. I have also seen jets that looked like launches at first. I have not seen or read anything to make me believe that this was not a launch. Honestly if something comes up, I still probably won’t believe it, because I trust my own judgment over anything that takes 3 or 4 days to produce.
    You all can believe what you would like, but the fact that there is no real proof one way or the other, proves to me there is much more to the story. And also proves that the media and our government cannot be trusted. Whether or not it’s a jet.

  25. Mike says:

    Of course the media and the government cannot be trusted. Nor the neighbors. Or those people across town, trying to make it look like they’re going about their business, looking at me as if I’m the one staring at them. They’re shifty, the whole lot of them. Time to build a cozy little bomb shelter, most likely.

  26. Artyom says:

    Wow, it is explained as flight AWE 808… The fact the earth is a sphere and angle of visibility PLUS many other examples… yet they have “NO EVIDENCE”… right…. And how many missiles have you personally launched? And as always witnessing something doesn’t mean fact. Of course requesting info from the military about a missile launch will confuse them if they don’t have ANY Information…. And the US can detect missile launches around the world. Whenever a nation tests them, they are monitored… What’s surprising is the reaction of LA residents and news goers reaching the Pentagon over a contrail. If a launch was to take place that close to the US coast, the military response would be NOTICEABLE!!!! There would be aircraft flying around the clock and a whole fleet hunting the submarine, but there isn’t one.. Just a commercial airliner. The Chinese only have one Jin Submarine, maybe another appeared, but not enough to take such a risk… This submarine resembles the Russian Delta class… Firing a ballistic missile within another nations defenses is a near suicidal move…. If the US brass believed a ICBM with multiple warheads was launched that close to their coast, they could retaliate on everyone they suspect… Most nations communicate test launches and demonstrations usually take place in international waters near other militaries, not near civil centers. This is NOT the way to send a “Whose your Daddy” card to a neighbor… Also consider the hypothetical target… the USA! No matter what anyone’s feelings are about America, the US is one of 2 nations that can completely destroy the world. There may be some pushing going on in the world, but no one is going to provoke the end of it.

  27. Artyom says:

    @Mike
    According to the folks on Prisonplanet… They replied to Russia building bomb shelters as a sign of guilt!!! So that means you are behind all of this in their mind…. lol

  28. Mike says:

    Come now, how could that be? I haven’t even bought a shovel yet. I also don’t own a hairless white cat and only rarely in the past have I placed a single finger to the corner of my mouth.

  29. Stupid says:

    @lllcornll, you said…””You all can believe what you would like, but the fact that there is no real proof one way or the other, proves to me there is much more to the story. And also proves that the media and our government cannot be trusted. Whether or not it’s a jet.”

    If you believe there is “no real proof one way or the other”, how can this lead you to believe there must be some deviously hidden proof ?

    You also said,
    “No one knows for sure what that was, at least no one who has spoken out so far, and anyone claiming to know for a fact should be automatically discounted.”

    Here, you have eliminated “everyone” from explaining this to you, haven’t you ?
    ___________
    I noticed a scratch on my car the other day. I have no proof how it happened.
    Who do I blame ? Do I blame that neighbor who gives me dirty looks every morning ?, or was it some vandal kids ?, or maybe it was just a careless person with a shopping cart ?
    I blame no one, because I did not see it happen. I have no proof that it was an “intentional scratch” therefore I cannot lay blame at the foot of anyone.
    I am angry and suspicious at my neighbor for the scowling looks I receive every morning – she could have done it. I see mischievous kids walking about the neighborhood….so they are capable of doing it. I want to blame them, because I have concocted a story and a motive in my head. I find reasons to assume they did it. They get into trouble elsewhere, therefore they are part of my situation.
    Or, what I can do, is look more closely at the evidence….that evidence being the scratch…the shape of it, the angle of it, the height of it, the color of it, etc….
    It looks nothing like an intentional scratch, not a “keying”. In fact I see it is near the height of my local supermarket’s shopping cart. Do I “know” it was the shopping cart ?….no, I don’t know that for sure either.
    So who do I blame ?
    The evidence says it was most likely accidental, from a shopping cart. My emotions say it was my neighbor, or a vandal kid.
    Which explanation do I settle with ?….the evidential, or the emotional ?
    ____________
    Of all the logical explanations given regarding the pictures at the top of this page, why have you discounted all of them ?……and gone with your emotions ?

  30. Craig says:

    @DWDavis. Flight 808 passed over catalina Island. That’s pretty far north of San Clemente… http://flightaware.com/live/flight/AWE808/history/20101108/1955Z/PHNL/KPHX

  31. Steve says:

    Alex Jones talks with Washington, D.C.-based investigative journalist, author and columnist Wayne Madsen about the mysterious missile that appeared off the coast of California.
    http://www.infowars.com/
    This should be a hoot. They just won’t admit that contrails can persist because it completely de-bunks their chem-trail hoax so they grab at anything. Hilarious!

  32. Artyom says:

    Doctor Evil…. LOL!!!

  33. Craig says:

    @ lllcornlll you said: “It simply looks like a missile launch”. No, it doesn’t – not even close. Only someone with a complete lack of knowledge about the issue would proclaim it a missile launch. It’s OK that you don’t know, there’s nothing wrong with being ignorant on some subjects; everyone can’t know everything (although I think that lacking basic geometry and physics is pretty sad in the US in 2010) What is highly annoying are people like yourself that clearly have no knowledge about the subject proclaiming it to be something it’s not, then you go on to proclaim that AKAYK the DOD etc had not release any statements, except that they have. So has NASA. And finally we have this little gem: “I guarantee someone in the government is monitoring these posts and all these comments”. Yeah right. I suppose you also think that George Bush shot down those airplanes, blew up the WTC and hit the pentagon with a cruise missile, all in an elaborate false flag maneuver as well.

  34. lllcornlll says:

    lol i meant no one so far. i think that was obvious. there is like maybe 4 websites talking about this. this is the most popular, you don’t think someone is going to keep up on it? And no they have not released official statements, one person has spoke to the AP and said probably. That isn’t an official statement. nasa said there is no reason to believe this isn’t a plane, also not in an official statement. the logical statements given are theories not backed up by fact and not scientifically comparable to this case. just because they sound scientific doesn’t mean they are.

  35. JFDee says:

    lllcornlll,
    do you really need some kind of an official statement to make up your mind about this event ?

    If you are trusting your own senses so much ?

    I urge you to have annother look at the latest images in the article, the ones from Richard Warren. Would you have assumed this direction of movement (which is not at all aligned with the trail) ?

    Can it be that you are assuming other things which may seem obvious but are also very different in reality ?

  36. lllcornlll says:

    apples and oranges but why talk about trail. where the heck are the wings? you can clearly see something there, you should be able to see wings.

  37. Mike says:

    “Sure, you say that’s the moon, but where are the moonbats?”

  38. Craig says:

    “you should be able to see wings” Without knowing the type of camera, the lens, the focal length and the magnification factor, the f/stop, the ISO, the amount of light available and the distance from the observer to the object, how can you possibly make such a statement? The short answer is that you can’t. Again, you clearly lack the basic knowledge to understand such things. Why do you continue to post your conspiracy theories? So that we can all have a good laugh at your expense? Mission accomplished! Carry on!

  39. Craig says:

    @ lllcornlll
    “And no they have not released official statements”

    Seems official:
    “The Department of Defense, after gathering info over the last 36 hours from within the Department of Defense and other U.S. government agencies, is satisfied the contrail was likely caused by an aircraft.” — Col. David Lapan, Pentagon spokesman.

  40. TheFactsMatter says:

    Seems official:
    “The Department of Defense, after gathering info over the last 36 hours from within the Department of Defense and other U.S. government agencies, is satisfied the contrail was likely caused by an aircraft.” — Col. David Lapan, Pentagon spokesman.

    All the more reason for the average conspiracy theorist to believe it’s a missile…

    Once it’s reported that it’s one thing, it MUST BE something completely different if the evil military has signed off on it!

    Remember, if you’re not suspicious of the military, you’re a sheep!

  41. Regarding being able to see wings, check this video and see at what point the wings become visible.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xl6iR7w7a_Q

    And note the bright light at around 0:56. Rocket flare?

  42. Steve says:

    Actual footage of the inside cabin of flight AWE808 as it was nearing Los Angeles on Nov.8 2010 at 5pm. with additional footage from LAX control tower.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ilGGP9BDZs

  43. DWDavis says:

    @Craig: You said “Flight 808 passed over catalina Island. That’s pretty far north of San Clemente…” You just aren’t going to let go of any of your contentions, are you? So much for objectivity. All you have to do is look at the Google Earth shot that you youself just posted and see that Flight 808 made a course change to the south over Catalina and so flies over the coast about 70 miles south of the LA / Long Beach area. It was not in the correct position in the sky. Find another candidate and show that its position aligns with what we see in the video. Otherwise your credibility is in question.

    And you might want to explain why, in your composite photo, the object’s progress through the sky doesn’t align with it’s own contrail. This could only be happening if the picture taker’s position is changing. Or maybe if the object is flying sideways.

    If you’re going to bother to look scientific, take the bias out of your data. You’re so convinced you’re right you can’t even acknowledge important discrepancies in your conclusions. How scientific of you.

  44. captfitch says:

    The object (aircraft) IS flying sideways. This fact is explained on this website.

  45. And we’ve discovered it’s not actually AWE808 after all, it’s the nearby flight, UPS902, see top.

  46. Still flying a bit sideways though.

  47. J says:

    “And we’ve discovered it’s not actually AWE808 after all, it’s the nearby flight, UPS902”

    Are you absolutely certain,. . .
    has the United Parcel Service confirmed this?

  48. Craig says:

    @DWDavis – Yesterday I posted my analysis, and I also included this: “Regardless, I cannot prove definitively that this is flight 808. All I know for certain is that it is a jet power aircraft at altitude.” I never concluded it was 808, and yes, you are correct the plane did not fly over the head of the observer – after watching the video again I think the appearance of the plane flying overhead is telephoto foreshortening. It is not possible to tell from the video what direction the plane is flying except that the plane seems to have turned toward the south a bit. Please note that I am using the Youtube video I linked to, not the CBS video.

    Regarding the composite (not mine, by the way) When I study the composite, the plane seems to line up perfectly with the contrail in all instances moving old (right) to new (left) especially if you factor in the winds at that altitude (made evident by the spreading of the contrail) and given that the plane was likely crabbing a bit.

    The primary point of my posts is simply that it is a jet, not a missile. I don’t really need to know the specific flight number to know that it was a jet – the video alone definitively proves it is a Jet powered aircraft and not a missile.

  49. Bobbo says:

    All my comments, include the one below, are on the overflow site but I’ve been following the discussion here also and just wanted to thank all for their viewpoints.

    Uncinus, I just wanted to thank you for a well made site in which you presented information in a reasonable and understandable manner. Your site created a great environment for people with opposing views to discuss their differences and for all to see the event from all sides in order to form whatever opinion the information presented to each. Based on the discussions, your presentations and my own eye witness information, of which I posted (on the overflow site), I am very comfortable going to bed tonight knowing in my mind what occurred Monday was just a jet. I know there are others who, based on the same data, have come to the exact opposite conclusion and what I say to that is I’m glad I live in the USA where we can agree to disagree. What I do know for certain is that I don’t have anymore info that I can add to the discussion that is constructive to the topic, so time for me to call it quits. Thanks all for a good discussion and debate and again thanks Uncinus for the place to do it.

  50. captfitch says:

    UPS would probably never be able to state that it was the responsible aircraft. It is very difficult to determine from inside your own aircraft if you are creating any type of trail.

  51. Mike says:

    Uncinus, I wanted to echo the thanks I left in my first comment a few days ago, over in the spillover forum. Your efforts here are appreciated. I hope my attempts at humor didn’t annoy too much, but the site proved an irresistible place for pinpricking the prematurely pompous. As Twain said, “Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.”

    I’m mostly prompted to write, however, by something I just witnessed in my small town, driving back from getting some eggs at a local farmstand. It relates to the “hatred” comment one person left on the spillover site. A man on the sidewalk to my right was taking cellphone pictures of something opposite, obviously pointing his phone at the sky. I glanced at the sky opposite and saw two jet contrails separated by about a half mile. I looked back at the guy as I passed him and he didn’t seem happy at all. My heart sank and I thought, “Oh, no.” I felt genuinely bad for him if he’s having as bad a weekend as I think he might be.

    I don’t hate people who simply don’t understand things, but I do harbor a huge distaste for those who are supremely, proudly, and arrogantly ignorant. That’s really what prompted my participation here, which I wanted it to be fun, not rancorous. Thank you for providing an outlet.

  52. Thanks Mike. It is sad when people are made angry and afraid by something that is not real. I don’t think that’s ever going to stop, but hopefully by being reasonable and communicating science clearly, some people can worry a little less.

  53. Dave says:

    Thank you! Too bad this would not be a topic of discussion on the lame Coast to Coast AM Radio broadcasts as the real truth.

  54. DWDavis says:

    I appreciate your re-evaluation of evidence presented regarding the specific flight. I realize identification of it is not your goal. And I am not – I guess I haven’t stated it – trying to imply that this was anything other than a jet contrail. But here’s the thing:

    It’s been my experience in other situations that those who want to resist incorporation of evidence into their thinking that contradicts what they want to believe will hang their hat on any little inconsistency or gap in information. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do about that, but sometimes there is, and one criticism I’ve seen throughout this episode has been the inability to definitively identify the flight. It struck me as way too easy to disqualify 808, hence my posts. I realize that you’ve never claimed 100% certainty about 808, but others have gone further, and I find that troubling.

    I still have some trouble with the composite photo. If I have time I’ll try to write it up in more detail with diagrams and send it to you. It’s somewhat difficult to clearly present my reservations in a comment thread (tried yesterday and canceled out, as it was hopelessly opaque). And I fully understand what is being said about crabbing, but I’m not convinced that accounts for the direction of the contrails immediately behind each shot of the jet. Do we know for certain that the person who shot the sequence did so from a stationary position? If we could verify that, my concerns could be dismissed. But I’m concerned he may have been on a boat, car, or other vehicle moving slowly in a northerly direction. These were taken the next evening (11/9), right?

  55. I was pretty set on 808 initially, as the angle of the flight seemed to match perfectly, and the contrail the next day viewed from my house was also a good match. The press took my “pretty sure” to be 100%, something I’ve never claim for anything.

    However I was delighted to find 902 matched the Warren photos much better. Here’s the original photos, if you want to fit them yourself.

    http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/gallery?section=news/local/los_angeles&id=7776159&photo=1

    I take it you’ve seen my more detailed explanation of how the photos fit the trail:

    http://contrailscience.com/

    The photos are of the same trail on the same day. The position is stationary, and appears to be from a building, probably 1750 E Ocean Apartments, on the 10th floor. There is no indication in any of the images that anything moves other than the things in the sky.

  56. Stupid says:

    Missile off the coast ?
    Wouldn’t local boaters or shipping vessels have heard, and eye-witnessed such an event ?
    I see the lack of even one report, as additional evidence….that there was no missile.

  57. Stupid says:

    (Example….from a sailing blog, about a 2004 missile launch as seen from a boat)
    http://www.beyondreason.us/8.html

    “We had heard earlier that Vandenberg AFB would be performing launches of missiles tonight, but were not sure what a treat it would become. Not long after passing our first oil terminal “Irene”, we were treated to an incredible light show as the night sky became as bright as day and soon a missile headed for Kwajalin islandin the south pacific.
    The show lasted about 5 minutes after which we still heard the missile thunder away.
    Once the missile noise finally faded, Lisa was back in bed and Conception lay 12 miles away.”

  58. captfitch says:

    Very good point. Especially due to the fact that ships have a “watch” of some sort that is always on duty per the regs.

  59. DWDavis says:

    Thanks for the response. The reason I asked about the date of the photos is that the caption (at the link you’ve posted) says “ABC7 viewer Richard Warren of Los Angeles sent in photos of the mystery missile seen from Long Beach on Tuesday, November 9, 2010.”

    I took that to mean that, having seen the report Monday night, Warren took these pictures at the same time the following evening. I guess what you’ve concluded is that the caption is just a typo. Do we know that? While I can note similarities in the shape of the contrail with what we see in the video, all the cloud formations seem pretty different.

    But again, thank you for taking the time to examine the flight identification further. I really appreciate that. The Google Earth functionality is pretty nice, isn’t it?

  60. It’s for sure the same contrail, compare the CBS footage

    With Warren’s first photo:

    If I have time tomorrow I’ll put together a Google Earth file, so people can see the trail, and the various viewpoints, including the photo.

  61. DWDavis says:

    Yep – agreed. I should have checked back instead of relying on my memory before I made that statement. Pretty distinctive pair of clouds there….

  62. DWDavis says:

    Well, I’m not going to be slow to admit that my concerns appear to be unfounded. Re-examining the photo sequence, I think I was being fooled by the combination of the rapid movement of the contrail along the horizon coupled with the varying angles of the contrails immediately behind the jet as, I suppose, it maintains course against a crosswind. Having overlaid the photos myself now, I agree that there’s no indication in midground objects of any lateral movement by the photographer that would have exaggerated the jet’s movement in the opposite direction. Even if there had been lateral movement, it would be quite amazing for the result to align so precisely with 902’s flight path as plotted on the Google Earth view you’ve posted.

    902 feels much more solid as a candidate. I have no more reservations. Thanks again for considering my objections.

  63. And thank you for being so reasonable and polite.

  64. TheFactsMatter says:

    DWD, I really appreciate your polite attitude. Thank you for not accusing people of being in on this supposed conspiracy just because we believe the official explanation.

  65. lllcornlll says:

    there was no official explanation. “likely a jet” and “no reason to believe it was a missile” from a couple of contacts is not an official explanation. but it sure shut everyone up huh?

  66. JFDee says:

    Again, why do you need an “official” explanation with all the material available around here ? If you don’t trust the “officials” very much anyway ?

  67. TheFactsMatter says:

    Official explanation (general consensus) based on reasonable evidence and facts. Good enough for me! The information that this consensus is based on is extremely trustworthy and well understood. I NEVER expected the military/government to weigh in on this…and can’t imagine why anyone would believe that “they” are obligated to do so when this isn’t a missile (the only official position). Only suspicious and untrusting minds will consider anything else.

    Nothing will shut them up.

  68. Mike says:

    People are perfectly willing to discuss this further with you, lllcornlll, but some insist you first explain to their satisfaction that spiky purple hair, your six-inch height, and the phrase “My Lucky Troll® by Russ Berrie” stamped on the bottom of your foot.

  69. On Nov 9th, the day the story went national, they said it was not a missile, and there were no fast moving radar targets in the area. From their POV that’s case closed. What did you expect – an instant explanation of every odd cloud in the sky? The sense of urgency was fake, generated by the media.

    Looks like flight 902 to me. They have no more info so would just give the same analysis.

  70. GEORGE MARSHALL says:

    So how does one RECOGNIZE PROPAGANDA,,,here is one way…The new buzz phrase is,,,
    PERSISTENT CONTRAILS….CONTRAILS were never persistent until the gov.boys started to spray
    us with poison…It is a soft kill depopulation program anyway you look at it….

  71. Contrails have always persisted in the right atmospheric conditions, and I’ve got lots of photos:

    http://contrailscience.com/contrail-photos-through-history/

    And the phrase “persistent contrails” has been used for decades. See:

    http://goo.gl/40djV

  72. TheFactsMatter says:

    “CONTRAILS were never persistent until the gov.boys started to spray
    us with poison”

    I have seen and understood persistent contrails since the early 60’s. Is that when “the gov. boys” started “spraying” us?! Probably not, since my father saw them during WW2 and there are pictures of them from that time. And what “poison” are they “spraying” us with? Do you have any evidence or just the same old misunderstandings I’ve seen on the internet?

  73. Craig says:

    They’re spraying us with dihydrogen monoxide. Go ahead, try to deny that.

  74. MikeC says:

    Dang Craig – you got us with that one!

  75. JFDee says:

    (Just testing my Gravatar)
    Now the bloody stuff is dripping out of the sky !! I even have to employ my convertible DHM protection shield !!

  76. TheFactsMatter says:

    I wrote:

    “I have seen and understood persistent contrails since the early 60′s.”

    That was a mistake. It should have been early 70’s.

  77. Stupid says:

    If it were a missile, claims/estimates/speculations are that it was launched 50 or-so miles north of Catilina.
    That would place it in one of the west coast’s busiest shipping lanes.
    Where are all those eyewitnesses that would have seen a missile launch ??

    I am trying to get archived data from AIS for Nov. 8th.
    Their real-time map has no archive available online….but have a look, to get an idea of the vessel traffic in that area.
    http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/

  78. Stupid says:

    I can’t get data from VTS (Vessel Traffic Services), as it is restricted to those who need it, and I believe entails a membership fee.

  79. Stupid says:

    …actually as Catalina is 22 miles off the CA coast, “50 miles north of Catalina” puts it the missile launch in the city of Santa Monica, Lol….so…..lets give the guessers plenty of leeway, and say 50 miles away from Catalina in any direction.

  80. From the original CBS report

  81. Stupid says:

    Someone said 50 miles north…some “expert”, I forget where I read that.
    …..look at the AIS link above a few posts, then at the above image.
    It’s a busy shipping lane, with no eye witnesses to a launch.

  82. Loose end says:

    If there were two planes in the area at the time, AWE808 and UPS902, why is the evidence for only one contrail? The next day contrail was attributed here to AWE808, but now there is no evidence that it left contrail on Nov 8, 2010.

  83. 808 was at a different altitude (37000 vs 39000), and a different type of plane. See:

    http://contrailscience.com/why-do-some-planes-leave-long-trails-but-others-dont/

  84. Loose end says:

    Yes, I can accept this. But, if this is the case, why did 808 leave contrail on Nov 9? Or was it another plane again.

  85. The altitude at which a plane will leave a contrail varies with the weather. The weather can vary a lot from day to day. The day after that there were no planes leaving contrails from that direction.

  86. Loose end says:

    OK. In this case photos of Nov 9 contrails are largerly irrelevant and bring confusion into your otherwise exelent analysis.

  87. You think so? I kind of though the fact that a similar contrail was made the next day was kind of like the icing on the cake. I suppose it poses extra question – but all easily answered.

  88. captfitch says:

    Uncinus- I was running tonight and was thinking: Does the atmosphere play a role in how we view these types of contrails? Because: a) we view the contrail as it spans a very long distance, b) we are looking through a great deal more atmosphere as we view the furthest part of the contrail compared to the part that is directly or nearly directly over head and c) the density of the atmoshere changes at a much faster pace as viewed vertically as oppossed to closer to the horizontal.

    Now- I know that the moon is not, in fact, optically larger close to the horizon and this fact has been proven but have you thought about illusions created by density changes as it relates to contrails?

  89. The atmosphere might create a “fata morgana” effect, which can distort the portion of the trail closest to the horizon. I don’t think that plays much of an effect here, as the trail seems pretty consistent over time

    I don’t think the moon illusion is happening either, as that’s something only apparent with the naked eye, with visual reference cues at normal magnification. Here we are super-zoomed in on something.

    I think the real illusion comes from the fact that the human brain is not equipped to comprehend something that is two miles wide, 100 miles long, and viewed nearly end on, from 150 miles away. Things descending over the ocean horizon are just not comprehensible to the human mind, so it re-frames it as something vertical, and much closer.

    When it’s explained, and demonstrated, then most people can get it. But some people never will. Some people actually do think the moon is bigger when it’s lower.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRygfkm_OXk

  90. Loose end says:

    Uncinus wrote:
    “the fact that a similar contrail was made the next day was kind of like the icing on the cake”.

    Actually, it was a part of scaffold to build up the support for plane theory:

    “The next day, Nov 9th 2010, Tom Carroll, a retired engineer from Rockwell’s Space Division took this photo of a similar contrail in the same spot in the sky” (http://contrailscience.com/los-angeles-missile-contrail-explained-in-pictures/);

    “And here’s a photo I took (Nov 9th) two minutes earlier from Santa Monica. I think it’s the same flight, just 24 hours later” (photo “Contrail from flight 808”, above).

    This asks for tidying up. Are these two photos of the same contrail? (Could be, as there are similar gaps). Was it indeed from AWE808 (or any other identified commercial plane)?

  91. Yes. The gaps in the trails match, and I’ve verified (as best I can, there’s not a lot of reference alignments in my photos) that 808 was in that spot when my photo was taken at 5:01, from Santa Monica

    So, the Nov 8th trail was UPS902, and the Nov 9th trail was AWE808

  92. Loose end says:

    Thank you. My curiosity is satisfied. Almost. Could you share the information, if available, on the timing and camera location of Tom Carroll’s photo?

  93. I got Tom Carroll’s photo from:

    http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local-beat/Viewer-Images-Mystery-in-the-Sky-Missile-or–107005348.html

    I’d say it’s probably around 5:10 (based on the time of my photo at 5:01), and from Newport Beach, based on the caption, but I don’t actually know the precise time and location.

  94. Loose end says:

    Great! It’s turned out that there are four Tom Carroll’s photos at this site now, so I’ve done some homework. I scaled and aligned these photos by the island skyline and the cloud layer. The chronological order of photos appears 4-1-2-3, in which the contrail is gradually displaced to the left (the same wind direction as day before). The tip of contrail initially moves vertically up (the plane flies straight toward the camera location), then, in the last photo, bends to the left (as in the radar-recorded actual trail above). There is a second, short contrail from the plane crossing the path of the long contrail at its base, from the right-up to the left-down. It is also present in your photo. From a relative hight of this contrail, your photo is probably taken in the time interval between Tom Carroll’s photos 1 and 2. This is consistent with the plane position at the established time of your photo at the straight portion of its actual trail (orange), just before the bend. In principle, from the two photographs from different known viewpoints, it should be possible to calculate the direction of contrail and get an estimate of wind speed from the angle between the contrail and the actual plane trail.

  95. Huttate says:

    Uncinus, I would like to use material from here on youtube to debunk this silly missile story. Do you have any objection to my creating a slide show from this page?

  96. Garrett says:

    Just look up Case Orange (http://www.checktheevidence.co.uk/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=292&Itemid=50), The Carnicon Instatute (http://carnicominstitute.org/), and Geoengenering (http://www.geoengineeringwatch.org/) Then come back to this site and make up your mind. This probably wont even make it on to the page but it’s worth a try.

  97. Garrett, you know what Case Orange says about this site, right?

  98. Garrett says:

    I was waiting for a response from you but I didn’t post anything to have a discussion and feed my ego. Just a messenger of information for people on this site. I believe in all the information being presented so everyone can see it and make there own educated guess on whats going on. I plan on putting this website on many other websites where more educated people like doctors and scientists researching geoengenering, chemtrails, contrails, or what ever you want to call it can see what information this site is putting out there. Have a great day.

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