What the hell is going on in Alaska?
When Mattias Ahlvin walked (https://bit.ly/3KxVmnQ) out of
his house in Palmer to start his car Thursday morning, he saw
something unusual in the sky (https://bit.ly/37weRyF).
I looked up and I saw this strange I mean, I would just call it
a smoke column. It was a dark, gray streak across the sky that
was going straight vertical, he said.
Ahlvin pulled out his phone, zoomed in, and snapped a few
photos of what he saw. His first thought was that it was a plane,
but what surprised him was the direction the streak or plane
seemed to be headed.
It looked like it was going straight down, he said.
Law enforcement and a meteorologist with the National Weather
Service say that what Ahlvin saw was likely a condensation trail
from an airplane that was illuminated by the rising sun.
Ahlvin reached out to Alaska State Troopers to share the images
of what he saw just in case it was an aircraft in distress, and his
wife, Elisabeth, posted the photos to a local Facebook page asking
if anyone knew what it was.
Others posted similar photos and speculated whether they were
looking at a rocket launch, a meteor, a plane crash, a volcano or
perhaps a military operation.
A few hours later, troopers publicly addressed their investigation
into the sighting.
Troopers believe that the photos and videos showed a contrail from
the commercial jet combined with the rising sun which together
caused the unique atmospheric sight. We greatly appreciate the
numerous Alaskans that reported the suspicious sight this morning
to law enforcement, they wrote in an online advisory.
A commercial jet had apparently been flying in the area around the
time the photos were taken, troopers said and that plane was
reporting normal flight operations en route to New York.
A rescue team on a helicopter flew a mission around the Lazy
Mountain area this morning and located nothing suspicious and
there were no signs of crashed aircraft, troopers wrote.
Eddie Zingone, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service
in Anchorage, said that the troopers explanation tracks with what
he knows about condensation trails also known as contrails,
which are clouds of water vapor produced by aircraft traveling
at high altitudes.
First of all, how thick it is on one side the bottom left part is
much thicker, which is what wed expect, he said.
There was also a lot of moisture in the atmosphere on Thursday
morning, which can lead to condensation trails developing,
Looking at the photos, it looks like the plane may have just gone
through a cloud, and then was really, really accentuated in the
rising sun, which could also help explain the phenomenon, he
It was just a very vivid contrail is the best that we can guess on
that, he said.
Ahlvin said he thought the troopers explanation of what happened
made sense and that after dozens of social media comments on the
photos hed taken, it was reassuring to hear an answer from an
They say that the the easiest explanation is usually the correct one,
he said. But its always hard on social media to know whats true.
And so I appreciate the troopers putting up a statement clarifying
and confirming for sure.