RAW VIDEO: Mysterious Contrail Off Calif.

LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — Pentagon officials said Tuesday it did not know what created a vapor trail that crossed the skies over Los Angeles on Monday night, but they insist the contrail was not the result of a foreign military launching a missile.

Video posted on the CBS Los Angeles website shows an object flying through the evening sky Monday that left a large contrail, or vapor trail. While cruising the skies Monday at sunset, Sky2 captured on video what appears to be a missile making its way up into the sky from over the Pacific Ocean off the California coast.

Pentagon officials were stumped by the event. “Nobody within the Department of Defense that we’ve reached out to has been able to explain what this contrail is, where it came from,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan said.

Pentagon Says No Missile Behind Contrail: KNX 1070’s Charles Feldman Reports

While the vapor cloud captured on video resembled that created by a rocket in flight, military officials said they didn’t know of any launches in the area.

Lapan said that “all indications” were that the Defense Department was not involved with the object.

One expert called it an optical illusion. “It’s an airplane that is heading toward the camera and the contrail is illuminated by the setting sun,” said John Pike, director of the U.S.-based security analyst group globalsecurity.org.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, issued a statement jointly with the U.S. Northern Command, or NORTHCOM, saying that the contrail was not the result of a foreign military launching a missile. It provided no details.

“We can confirm that there is no threat to our nation,” the statement said. “We will provide more information as it becomes available.”

NORTHCOM is the U.S. defense command and NORAD is a U.S.-Canadian organization charged with protecting the U.S. from the threat of missiles or hostile aircraft.

Pike said the object could not have been a rocket because it appeared to alter its course.

“The local station chopped up the video and so it’s hard to watch it continuously,” Pike said. “But at one place you can see it has changed course — rockets don’t do that.”

Pike said he didn’t understand why the military had not recognized the contrail of an aircraft. “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.”

Judge for yourself by watching this raw video from Sky2.

Or have a closer look at some of the screen shots we’ve taken.

missile launch 2 RAW VIDEO: Mysterious Contrail Off Calif.

(credit: CBS)

PHOTOS: Mystery Missile Launch Off California

Have a theory? Send it to StreetTeam@cbs.com.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Lorrie Laible

    I find it intersting that no one “claims” to know about this. Yesterday we were returning from Honolulu on Hawaiian Airlines with an arrival time of 3:25 pm at LAX. Approximately 270 miles away our pilot came on the speaker and told us we would be rerouted over Big Sur California due to military maneuvers in our path. Maybe they should speak with the pilot of our flight.

    • John Tee

      They knew. I definitely was NOT a jet contrail. Just the usual Govt. B.S.

    • Mallori

      Oh my! That is shocking. They must have known… Someone knows. What is that the gov’t doesn’t want to tell us?!?

      • matt

        Presently, the video is under the seizure of the US Department of Defense for investigative purposes! hmm…

      • Mike

        Of course it wasn’t a missle. It was a new type of jetliner that can take off out of the ocean and fly straight up. Also there is no Area 51 and the government dosen’t know anything about flying saucers.

    • CoMan

      Sounds like someone is not talking! It could be Balloon Boy’s Dad trying a new experiment or any of the below. If they don’t make it to space…we will find them in the ocean soon.

    • AviationIsAHomelandSecurityThreatandImaSheep

      Yes, because Pilot’s are all in on it, aviation is just an exposed and civil arm of Homeland Security, and anyone that has heard of Bill Gate’s name can’t find air traffic control recordings at liveatc.net. You’re right, contact the pilot for he holds all.

    • Mike Woodward

      Lorrie. Here’s the deal. 1. I have a picture from a slightly different angle that shows the same “Con Trail”. The Atmospheric conditions if you notice show a bunch of moisture at altitude that Airliners typically use (FL 360-390) coming back into LAX from Honolulu and other overseas departure points. They flew the “Tracks” high at that and this “Mystery” is not a mystery.

      A possible Missile is BS. It was an Airplane that was simply on it’s way to the US of A.

      It was a contrail and I have a time stamped picture from off of the coast of LAX to prove it was not from a military base or otherwise. All of this Hype is BS. Anyone that wants the pictures can email me.

      • dave

        So the FAA saying there was NO aircraft in the area at that time in that direction, and the fact that the trail starts at sealevel 35 miles west of the coast doesn’t mean anything??
        We have a new airport out in the water now?

      • smarterthenyou

        You are truely stupid Mike

      • dsutherland

        Mike – what is your email address – I am very interested to see these pictures that u have..thankss!!! or maybe you can post them for all to see – it may be easier that way – this way, you can clear up the confusion for everyone and put this story to bed

      • bing

        look at the video! if you can still find it un-edited.

      • Bill Grandi

        Hello Mr. Woodward,

        I would really appreciate if you will email me your pictures. This whole episode really intrigues me. Thank you for your offer and your time.


        Bill Grandi

      • bill claggett

        your a straight idiot how many milssile launches have you seen? I have been in missile systems in the army for almost 20 yrs there is no plane that can move that fast.

    • jb

      Yesterday Monday the 8th I was driving southbound on the 5 where it meets the 60 east, there was a passenger jet being tailed or escorted by another smaller jet. I could not tell if it was military or not. It looked Like an A-10 or something similar. The jet was flying just south of downtown heading east and then made a turn toward LAX.

      • Kent

        I was driving the $)% home by the airport and saw that jet being escorted. I thought it was wierd but didn’t make the conection to this. The escort jet followed it ff it’s south with. The plane landed on the south runway and the escort jet veered off after the jet was very low and about to land. It was a commercial jet but not an american carrier. I did not recognize the markings. The escort was an A10.

    • clubted

      Saturday morning there was a destroyer at the southern tip of Santa Cruz Island and later that evening a friend said he saw a carrier there. I’ve never seen a Navy ship out there, much less parked. Can’t be a coincidence.

      • AviationIsAHomelandSecurityThreatandImaSheep

        One carrier group is doing Carrier Quals out of North Island NAS in San Diego, and another is doing their last qual before they go on cruise (tour).

    • blip

      this was a top secret training exercise. I can’t say anymore. But this story will fade away.

    • tie

      I saw the same thing happen last saturday. there was a huge object that left a contrail that went over orange county towards riverside. it was much higher than planes typically fly. i called my husband to find out if anything was happening, but no news was reported about it, so i didnt think much of it until tonight.

  • LIZ


  • Dave

    Now fox news says it was an airplane… Yeah, right… airplanes always have a plume of fire coming out of their engines…

    • Michael

      Its not fire, its moisture. Any idiot can see its traveling way too slow to be a rocket, and the sunlight in the sunset is illuminating moisture, just like it would for a cloud.

      This is where conspiracy theories just get annoying: If the USA launched a missile, they’d make damn sure it was no where near the American coast, and if it was any other country it’d be pasted all over the news.

      Let’s be realistic here, folks.

      • Rhaz

        I was thinking the same thing…scare tactics

      • john a

        really? I work in LA at the top of the 21st tallest building facing the ocean and see every plaethat travels over the ocean at suset.
        They leave amazing contrails but the contrails do not come out of the ocean passed catalina island.they dont look like that.
        You want to know what does look like that? surface to air ballistic missiles being launched from submarine.


      • Nick F

        You are an idiot. Did air force 1 also not do a flyover of NY? After living within 10 miles of the Burbank airport for over 5 years this is clearly not a jet.

        I am more concerned that nobody has claimed responsibility for this as I fly this route at least 10x year and I don’t want to end up like Lockerbee.

      • Rick

        Unfortunately you are incorrect,a ballistic missile or rocket travels very slowly (relatively speaking) during its boost phase and doesnt reach extreme speeds until it is has exited the atmosphere.

        Your second point is just as wrong as missiles are routinely launched from land (vandenburgh) with westerly trajectories over the pacific.

        Whats annoying are people who post without knowing what they are posting about.

      • Doug

        “If the USA launched a missile, they’d make damn sure it was no where near the American coast,” Ummm, Vandenberg Air Force Base. Right on the coast.

      • Roy Charles


    • John

      Maybe it was a qantas a380 flight? :)

      • Hide

        Yes maybe so, I mean A380’s are known for big contrails.

    • PHILL


      • dave

        show me one commercial airliner with afterburners…

    • AviationIsAHomelandSecurityThreatandImaSheep

      You’re right. It was fire. In fact, the entire sky was on fire. Sunset? Don’t be ridiculous. It was obvious that spaceship was making the entire sky red. In fact, I’d call you unlearned to say that contrails or any other cloud turns red at sunset. Yes, that entire line of “red” was fire, from the “missile” to the ocean. Thanks, Dave.

      • Dave

        Wow… your a reader… too bad you don’t comprehend…
        no one said all the contrail was fire… if you LOOK at the vid, you can see the flame at the end of the missile right where the contrail starts… not a cobntrail of fire.
        Even Robert Ellison, the ex secretary of defense, said it was a missile that was “Bigger than a cruise missile” and not a plane.

  • Samuel Laible

    I tried getting Lorrie to join the Mile High Club, but she wouldn’t do it. :(

  • Thomas O

    Anyone want to bet that North Korea just decided to test a sub launched cruise missle over our coast?

    • AviationIsAHomelandSecurityThreatandImaSheep

      No, because they can’t feed their people or notice when we accidentally fly into their country.

    • Lyndsey

      I pray this is not the case…..

  • LeRoy

    Yeah, I’ll bet you. How about we wager a six piece from Popeyes?

  • gizmo

    If no one on our side claiming for this launch, would of Norad detect it as a sub launch and place our nation on alert?
    if this happen in the 80’s. a squadron of Bomber would be heading to the fail safe by now.

    • Gabriel

      I don’t think so. My theory is this, China has announced this year their new submarine and have been dumping loads of cash into their naval system as well as other defenses. Russia flies bombers over Canada in old cold war tactics and sails their subs around Alaska. I think that this was a Chinese or Russian sub causing alarm for the USA. the question is this and oops wrong button, hey look we can get here you didn’t see us, Or is this a Check, your move?? We saw a huge flock of migrating birds flying towards Hawaii, look what disaster followed in Pearl Harbor. I think a foreign sub came in and showed off the fact they could do so and that if they wanted the missile could have gone east not west. I think this is serious and is a Check and we have to figure out how to not be in a Check Mate situation.

  • Paul C

    The quality of this clip is terrbile. Why bother shooting HD if this is the quality you post online?

  • JoAnne

    Now it’s a jet contrail, and it’s not moving vertical
    it’s an Optical illusion

  • Mike B

    “Now fox news says it was an airplane… Yeah, right… airplanes always have a plume of fire coming out of their engines…”

    The glow could easily have been sun reflected from the body of a commercial airliner. The pulsating effect of the reflection could be heat haze/atmospheric distortion due to use of the long lens.
    What is surprising is that apparently an airliner cant be ruled out, surely radar tapes would record the target?

    • AviationIsAHomelandSecurityThreatandImaSheep

      Because of funding issues, radar stations like the one at Point Mugu NAS (Naval Air Station, a US Navy Military Base) can’t afford to use their radar for all the “targets” in their airspace.

    • Ed

      The FAA has 2 digital ASR’s within range of there (LAX North and South) and there’s probably also an ARSR within range. With common ARTS, there is zero chance that any air traffic within 35 miles of LA won’t be recorded and backed up for posterity for at least 45 days. The only way this target wouldn’t show up on radar is if were traveling at least the first blind speed of the radar, which due to staggered PRF’s is probably well over 3000 Knots–an impossible speed for an aircraft.

  • http://willblogforlols.com willblogforlols

    Orange you glad you weren’t there?

  • Mike

    Thomas N.Korea barely made a rocket; you really think they could make a sub that could fire missiles… LoL

  • Realist

    I find it odd that NO ONE else out of a HUGE population of people like Los Angeles would have another video or at least a photo of this missile or whatever it may be. Only one news station had captured it. Just really odd. Same with all the UFO sitings that have been claimed. Only one video. Missiles make noise, lots of noise, even at 35 miles, someone would have heard it, seen it, something. Unless I see more evidence of this being a missile, I’m not convinced. And If Obama shot one off for China, that’s a misuse of resources and a waste of taxpayers $.

    • Charles

      My wife and i were walking on Venice Beach Monday at 4:45 p.m. and we saw the plume. I immediately assumed it was the Navy testing missiles. My wife had her cell phone with her but we did not think to take a photo then because, while unusual, the plume seemed to be headed away from the beach.

  • steve c.

    They seem to have checked with the military, which may or may not admit the truth. However, it is difficult to judge the size of the object causing the trail. It is possible that a private company or university was conducting a scientific experiment.

  • Roger Rabbit

    You guys have too much time on your hands!

  • C.M. Butts

    mentos and a 2 liter of coke is my guess……

  • Chas

    Based on the colonel’s propensity for placing blame where it does not belong, I wonder if he was involuntarily retired?

    • Joe

      Chas, if you didn’t serve, you have no standing for a comment like the one you made. I am a Disabled Veteran, retired from the Marine Corps.

      Get a life!!!!!

  • Dodi

    It was an illusion that the contrails were vertical although they were really horizontal because the airplane was traveling from West to East & the setting sun made it a spectacle. Now I don’t know the relevance of blaming Obama for this non-event. For those who would like to try my explanation, you only have to stand close to LAX near sunset as one of the airplanes come in from the Pacific ocean at contrail level homing toward the LAX VOR.

  • Jim

    Probably a test missile from the nuclear sub OWS (One World Ship)
    George Soros.

  • Drumner

    It’s a jet flying toward the camera over the horizon. Those are the horizontal vapor trails. I don’t know why the camera didn’t just keep rolling and see it’s just a jet coming into LAX or something.

  • jr

    Just another airplane flying high in the sky… it looks like its a rocket trail, but it’s just an illusion. What was more strange, was i was driving late home last night, and out of nowhere this bright light just shot straight accross the sky. It was no shooting star (i was right in middle of the city), and it could’ve been a firework, but there were no other explosions or sounds, just fell staight out of the sky.

    Wish i wouldve known what that was all about…

    • Jeremy

      Hey I saw that light too – last night @ 9:30 – I was walking my dog in Redondo Beach, freaked me out – definitely wasn’t a normal shooting star – was more like a giant firework way up in the sky.

  • dherbst

    How about an Aurora flight from that unknown area 51?

  • Lt. Col. Donald Penopscot

    God Bless You for your service, Joe.

    • Doug

      Hey, aren’t you Hot Lips Houlihan’s boyfriend on M*A*S*H

  • daskipper2@gmail.com

    Hey KCAL…these were YOUR pilots…what do THEY say…?

    • AviationIsAHomelandSecurityThreatandImaSheep

      Thanks, daskipper. Because pilots know everything and have super power and are dangerous and live in a world no one else lives in and are different than you, it would make sense to ask them.

  • Doug

    UFO’s had finally made contact but saw what a mess California was in and are bailing outta here.

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