Contrail to Distrail

It’s been interesting weather here in Los Angeles, as a couple of storm systems have rolled through we’ve had some days of nice looking clouds, and some days with lots of contrails. I snapped this one this morning: It shows a contrail from the lower left that then...
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Early Contrails

Either by day or a little after sunset, in fine weather, a little, light, long-drawn cloud is seen, like a long very straight line. – Aristotle, Meteorologica, 340BC Not every long straight line in the sky is a contrail. Here Aristotle suggests it’s “a sort of wave-mark in...
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Barium Chemtrails on KSLA

Brief Summary: Samples of water were collected in August 2007, in Stamps Arkansas, by leaving some bowls outside for a month The resultant dirty water was tested by KSLA and was found to have the same amount of barium in it as most municipal tap water. The reporter...
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Where are all the Chemtrail Photos?

Some people think that persistent spreading contrails are somehow unusual, and are actually something dangerous being deliberately sprayed on the US people by the government, or perhaps for weather control purposes. They call these persistent contrails “chemtrails”. Some of them are very insistent that this is a practically...
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Hole Punch Clouds in Los Angeles

I’ve talked about distrails and hole punch clouds before, but I’ve actually never seen one myself until this morning, when I saw two side by side. It’s quite rare to have this kind of weather condition in Los Angeles. I took a couple of photos at around 7:30AM...
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Contrail Gaps and other Questions

There was an interesting post over on the New York SkyWatch blog, which raised many of the common questions that people have about various contrail anomalies. I’ve attempted to answer all of the questions here: Question #1, why [do] jet contrails appear as if the jet engine is...
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Broken Contrails and Contrails with Gaps

Contrails are clouds made from water vapor that condenses then freezes behind a plane engine. Since the engines are on constantly, it seems a bit odd when you see contrails with gaps in them, or even contrails that stop and start. If the engine is pumping out a...
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Contrails, Dark Lines, Black Beams, & “Chemtrails”

People who think persistent contrails indicate some kind of conspiracy (which they call “chemtrails”), sometime point to the “dark lines” that sometimes accompany contrails. Since they can’t immediately think of why these dark lines should be there, they assume it’s part of the conspiracy. Either there is some...
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Measuring the height of contrails

How high are those contrails? That’s a very important issue if you are investigating the science of contrail formation. I’ve been thinking for a while that a good method might be to take photos at a plane at a known focal length on a digital camera, and then...
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Contrail photos through history

I’ve collected together a few photos of persistent spreading contrails from the past from 1991 back to 1940, just to show that this is nothing new, and that skies exactly like those shown on the “chemtrails” conspiracy web sites have been happening for the past 60 years. Mostly...
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“Chemtrail” Aircraft Photos

Several planes look a little odd, or have attachments that look odd, and so some people feel they must be part of a decades long conspiracy to spray stuff into the atmosphere to alter the weather or reduce the population. That’s obviously nonsense, but what are these strange...
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Contrails In the Movies

I like these contrails from the movie Cars: They look a little odd at first, but if you look closely (click on the image to expand it) you can see they are actually tire tracks. Here’s some more pics, from a site that thinks the government had these...
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Chemtrail Myths

Some people believe that the government is spraying something into the air, and this creates unsual looking contrails. They call these “chemtrails”. Now, there is no real evidence that “chemtrails” are real, but there are several myths on the internet about “chemtrails”. All these myths can very easily...
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Chemical Analysis of Contrails

What is a contrail made of? Mostly ice, since one of the primary exhaust emissions of a jet aircraft is water vapour, which freezes within a couple of seconds, and forms the visible part of the contrail. If the air is fairly humid, then the contrail can persist...
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There are a lot of jets in the air

There are a lot of planes in the air, several thousand at any given time over the US. This animation shows all the tracked air traffic in the air at once. Each dot is a jet. Click on the image to see a 24 hour animation. The animation...
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A brief history of "Chemtrails"

“Chemtrails” are supposedly long lasting contrails that are being deliberately created by the government for some sinister purpose. In reality, these contrails just look like normal contrails. It’s a fringe conspiracy theory that spread over the internet, mutating as it goes for survivability. But where did it begin?...
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Procrustean Science

“Procrustean Science” is a wonderful phrase I came across on the internet in a paper on “Indigenous siderophiles in the lunar highlands”. It’s a rare phrase, deriving from the legend of Procrustes, who was an inn-keeper that liked his guests to fit their beds exactly. If the guests...
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The opposite of contrails

The opposite of a contrail is a “distrail”. When a jet flies through a high cloud then various factors to do with the passage of the jet are sufficient to trigger precipitation in the cloud, leaving holes or trails. The precipitation can spread outwards quite a distance. This is a...
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