On Sunday, June 10, a weather camera in Washington State snapped footage of what looked like a missile streaking across the sky.
According to SkunkBay Weather, a weather monitor in Washington State on its official Facebook page: “My night camera picked up what clearly looks like a very large missile launch from Whidbey Island.”
Professor Cliff Mass, an atmospheric sciences faculty member at the University of Washington, said the object did indeed look like a missile.
He continued: “It really looks like an ascending missile. I would be interested if someone had some insights into this sighting.
“This feature does not look like a meteor, nor are there any meteor reports for the area that I could find online.
“The lightning networks did not show a strike in that area.
“I have never heard of rocket launches from Whidbey Island Air station in Oak Harbor.
“And checking online, I can not find any discussion of this feature.”
However, military officials have denied that they had anything to do with a suspected rocket launch.
A spokesman for the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island told Military.com: “There’s a lot speculation around here but it’s definitely not a missile launch.”
The spokesman added that the NAS Whidbey Island does not have any missile launching capabilities.
But Dr Grant Allen at Manchester University’s Centre for Atmospheric Science believes he may cracked the mystery.
“There are a few things I can tell from the photo – the light streak appears to pass between two cloud decks – a low-level and a mid-to-higher-level deck – you can see this as the streak appears and disappears behind the low level cloud deck but always appears in the foreground of the higher cloud deck.
“This is not consistent with a vertically ascending missile as such an ascent might be expected to penetrate both cloud decks (very quickly).
“This must be a long exposure photograph/capture as you see a light streak (not an object) and some smearing out of the clouds too.
“To my mind, this is just a brightly lit conventional aircraft of helicopter moving overhead at an altitude above the height of the lower cloud deck but below that of the higher cloud deck.”