June 13, 2018

Mystery "Missile Launch" Explained

In my last blog, I shared a startling picture from the Skunk Bay Weather website (run by Greg Johnson), showing what looked like a missile ascent over Whidbey Island (see below) at 3:56 AM on June 10.

I asked what folks thought of this, whether anyone heard or saw anything, or if someone had insights into this event.  There were 115 comments on this blog, with all kinds of theories.  Some were sure it was a missile, some suggested a contrail lit by the ascending sun, others thought it was a commercial jet, and others suggested alien activity.

Slowly, but surely, the possible explanations peeled away.  The routes of the few commercial flights were not positioned or timed to match the image.  Sunset was over an hour later and would not illuminate contrails at that time.  A missile launch would make a huge noise, which was not reported by anyone in the area.  Same thing with the bright light of the exhaust.  I will dismiss the alien origins as a matter of principle.

One comment by Tyler Rogoway was particularly insightful.  He noted that there was a Airlift NW helicopter that went right over the Skunk Bay location at exactly the right time (see below)


And the final piece of evidence fell into place today as the helicopter's pilot revealed that the search light was ON, facing straight down, and retracted under the nose.

And all of a sudden it all makes sense.   And it is a good example of confusing perspective and how the human eye/brain can jump to the wrong conclusions. 

This was not a missile launch far to the north over Whidbey Island.   All the action was close to the camera, which took an image that extended over 20 seconds.

A helicopter was flying at low levels towards the north, with the search light providing the illuminated line.  If you look closely you will see that the light is passing below the clouds, before going into them at the bottom.  So the helicopter was going from the top to the bottom of the image over time.

What about the apparent missile at the top of the light trail (see below)?  Elementary, Dear Watson!  The search light is on the front of the helicopter.  When the 20-second exposure began, the back of the helicopter body was lightly illuminated, producing the "missile-like" shape.  This was not seen later because the body followed the trajectory of the light.

So all is explained.  A nighttime helicopter with a search light.   Low and close to the camera.  No secret rocket launches, no Korean intrigue, no missile sub mishaps, and certainly no aliens.

But there is something that continues to be unnerving. 

A Coast Guard cutter has been stalking offshore of the Skunk Bay weather location (see below).  If this was just an innocent helicopter passage at night, why all the snooping on weather-loving Greg Johnson?  I will let the conspiracy theory crowd run with this.


  1. Clearly only one explanation...

  2. This is so cool. Mystery solved through objectivity, science and for me, open-mindedness as I was sure it was a THAAD missile. But as always it’s also an interesting study of human psychology; we are an opinionated species.

  3. Oh jeeze. The reptilian overlords have conditioned you to spout this nonsense...


    I was slightly surprised to hear Lars Larson from KVI mention you a while back. A conservative giving kudos to a climate change - were all going to die - heathen? (( 8-) ))

    From a reality standpoint, climate changes, but taking a longview as to why instead of just blaming US because because US can think it so short of a major nuclear war, Were doing a drop in the bucket of what nature does on its own.

  4. Oh Cliff, you take at face value the innocent "Coast Guard" markings on the side of that cutter? You sweet summer child. Use your noggin and delve a bit deeper...

  5. Although you can't prove Airlift wasn't transporting an injured alien...

  6. Obviously, the CG boat contains a cloaking device so no more missile launches will be visible to the camera.

  7. Perhaps they are searching for the Sea Dragon plans, which the Chinese evidently stole from the Navy.

  8. Swamp gas from a weather balloon got trapped in a thermal pocket and reflected the light of Venus

  9. Some more facts would be nice:

    From when to when has the boat been there?

    Which ship is patrolling there? You can find out using Ship Finder and similar apps and web sites. CG ships broadcast their ID and position using AIS, ships show up near Skunk Bay, so CG ships should show up as well.

    There are a number of activities that bring CG ships to various areas: training, mapping, maintaining navigational aids.

    Otherwise, a picture and a statement that the the ship has been hanging out means nothing nefarious. (I know Cliff was not implying that there was.)

  10. I have it on good authority, this, supposed to be a security issue, is in fact is a missile. It was launched as a warning, but not intended to go anywhere where it would harm anyone.
    Be it as it may, you can believe what you want, but always, always research something like this until you get to the bottom of it, so what you report is fact and truth.

  11. Let's get real, this is the Coast Guard Cutter Osprey transiting the area on a routine mission. She is stationed at Port Townsend, just 16 miles away, by water. Boating safety, Search and Rescue, and Law Enforcement are some of her missions. She is noted for seizing two and a half tons of cocaine worth 220 million dollars off of a vessel in the area. Doesn't have time to chase after conspiracy theories.

  12. The times are off on the pics, by 4 hours. If the camera could have picked up the tail rotor it would have certainly shown more of the copter it seems, regardless of the exposure or flight direction. Still fishy...

  13. Time to contact Giorgio A. Tsoukalos on this one. Could be aliens coming back for round two...

  14. Mystery "Missile Launch" Explained......or.......Mystery Missile Launch "Explained"?
    Do your own research.

  15. Hey Cliff,
    Any idea what the earliest reported "forest fire" is in Wa? Just wondering.

  16. Ken Lyons: Coast Guard Cutters do not always activate AIS. They ARE Coast Guard vessels, thus are always in contact with the Coast Guard, through their dispatch center in Seattle as well as the Vessel Traffic System. VTS is the maritime equivalent of aviation's Air Traffic Control system. VTS has total radar coverage, and commercial/large vessel control, of the Straits of Juan de Fuca, Rosario Straight, and Puget Sound. Cutters may not participate in AIS because they want to stay stealthy, since they may be on a law enforcement mission (observing drug runners, for example.) The Coast Guard can enforce all Federal Laws on US waters, not just maritime laws.

  17. I’d like tbe know more about his camera setup. I would like to see a network of cameras like this around the NW as a sort of “weather dashcam” to look back on after events.


Please make sure your comments are civil. Name calling and personal attacks are not appropriate.

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