Officials: California ‘Missile’ Was Just a Plane

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It was the sight that launched a thousand conspiracy theories. But authorities say the answer is a little more boring.

Col. Dave Lapan, spokesman for the Department of Defense, told the Associated Press the billowing contrail probably came from a plane, and that the image was contorted via camera angles, winds and a setting sun.

(See 6 things we hoped the ‘missile’ actually was.)

Missiles are fairly common along the coast of California, as it is home to a Navy ocean range and an Air Force base. But all government agencies who may have launched a missile reported that they didn’t launch anything Monday night.

(See a brief history of UFOs.)

Independent NASA researchers agree with the airplane theory. “A missile would look like that,” said Al Bowers, associate director of research at at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center. “It could potentially have a contrail that shape. “(But) the motion looks a little suspect to me, and my conclusion would be that, yeah, it’s most probably an aircraft.”

If you want to keep scheming, the AP never officially deems the contrail as coming from a plane. (Technically, nobody knows for sure.) But the rest of us will have to wait for another mysterious cloud to find the real Rocketeer.(via AP)