A secret missile launch? Mystery streak of light spotted over Whidbey Island leaves locals baffled
- Weather camera captured a mystery object that looks like a missile in ascent
- The streak was spotted over Whidbey Island, where there is a naval air station
- A spokesman from NAS Whidbey Island said there are no missiles at the base
- Some experts claim the light comes from an air ambulance helicopter, while others are adamant it is a secret missile launch despite the recent denials
A weather camera has captured a mystery object streaking across the sky over Washington’s Whidbey Island.
The peculiar light, spotted at 3:56 am PDT (6: 56 am ET/ 11:56 am BST) yesterday, has left locals baffled.
Whidbey Island has a naval air station and some claim the streak may be a secret missile launch.
However, the military has denied any such activity.
Experts have told MailOnline that the light may come from an air ambulance helicopter operating in the region.
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A mystery object has been spotted over Washington state island, with locals speculating the streak in the sky is a secret missile launch. The peculiar light (pictured) was spotted at 3:56 am PDT (6: 56 am ET/ 11:56 am BST) over Widbey Island
Greg Johnson of Shunk Bay Weather on the northern Kitsap Peninsula spotted the vertical streak with his night camera.
‘My night camera picked up what clearly looks like a very large missile launch from Whidbey Island’, he wrote on his Facebook page.
‘I really wanted more information before I shared this with the public.’
Mr Johnson said he contacted a number of experts about the strange sighting, including Robert Lunsford of the American Meteor Society who said it was definitely not a meteor.
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‘It looked like a missile launch to him as well’, wrote Mr Johnson.
‘To me, this looks like a launch of some kind’, Professor David Shultz, Professor of Synoptic Meteorology from the University of Manchester’s Centre for Atmospheric Science told MailOnline.
‘I am pretty sure it’s not a meteorological event’, he said.
Mr Johnson, who tweets under the user name Skunkbayweather, said he did not think the object was an plane.
Mr Johnson said he contacted a number of experts about the strange sighting, including Robert Lunsford of the American Meteor Society who said it was definitely not a meteor. Pictured is a serviceman walking past anti-aircraft defence mobile missile systems in Russia
A spokesperson for the Naval Air Station at Whidbey Island says there are no missile launch facilities in the area and others have claimed the light comes from an air ambulance helicopter
Professor Cliff Mass, professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington also said the object looked just like a missile launch.
‘This feature does not look like a meteor, nor are there any meteor reports for the area that I could find online’, Professor Mass wrote on his blog.
‘The lightning networks did not show a strike in that area’, he said.
‘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’, he wrote.
However, according to automotive website The Drive, there was an air ambulance helicopter flying in the vicinity of Skunk Bay when the image was taken.
Greg Johnson of Shunk Bay Weather on the northern Kitsap Peninsula spotted the vertical streak with his night camera
The helicopter was an EC-135T2+ registered as N952AL belonging to Air Methods, according to the publication and was in exactly the right spot when the picture was taken.
‘The thing that looks like a rocket at atop a flame would have been a ‘ghost image’ of the part of the helicopter that was exposed from spill-over from its running lights and the low available light in the environment’, the publication wrote.
‘This can look nothing like the actual object as the long exposure and how the light plays on the object can result in strange and often elongated shapes—in this case, something like a ghostly image of a rocket.’
Dr Grant Allen at Manchester University’s Centre for Atmospheric Science also isn’t convinced that this is a missile.
‘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,’ he said.
‘This is not consistent with a vertically ascending missile as such an ascent might be expected to penetrate both cloud decks (very quickly).
‘Also, given the upward-tilted angle of the camera (seen by the leaves on the trees to the left), this all adds up, in my opinion, to be something moving horizontally but toward the camera giving the illusion of an ascending object in this image.’
‘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.’
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