Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Prague's Own Mysterious 'Missile' Launch

All the hubbub over the mysterious contrail off the coast of California, which many people believe was some sort of missile, had me thinking back to just a few weeks ago, when my friend Rob Coalson posted these pictures on his Facebook page.

He took them from his apartment in Prague 6 at sunrise on October 29.

These pictures certainly had us intrigued. The angle just seems too steep for it to be the vapor trail of a jet. But I could find no reports in the Czech press of anyone else reporting a missile launch or anything else strange in the sky on that day.

Since the Pentagon has denied any sort of missile launch in the Pacific, the current explanation for the California "missile" seems to be an optical illusion produced by a simple jet contrail.

"It's an airplane that is heading toward the camera and the contrail is illuminated by the setting sun," John Pike, director of the U.S.-based security analyst group, is quoted as saying by AP.

But Pike is baffled about why the U.S. military has not recognized it as a contrail.

"The Air Force must...understand how contrails are formed," he said. "Why they can't get some major out to belabor the obvious, I don't know."

Seems like there may be the remains of a second earlier "missile" on the left of this photo.

And Fox News cites as saying the trail of condensed water vapor that is spewed out of a jet engine resembles a missile trail when seen from some angles.

The confusion between a missile launch and a jet plane contrail is caused by several common misconceptions, the site notes, explaining that the angle of launch, the direction of flight, and even the shape of the Earth can lead to the illusion.

This might explain the Prague missile launch, too.

As for me, I'm not totally convinced. Anyone else out there see anything in Prague on October 29?

1 comment:

  1. Really impressive! A friend of mine, who works at Prague-Ruzyne airport and was returning home from the night shift early morning (about 7am) Oct 29, also witnessed that view. According to him, first it really looked like a missile launch, but by 7.30am it became clear that it was a jet trace. However he also says that the scene was breath-taking.
    Rim Gilfan