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'Mystery Missile' May Have Been A Jet

Video frame grab provided by KCBS/KCAL of what was seen off the California coast on Nov. 8.

hide captionWhat's it look like to you?

Anonymous/KCSB/KCAL

Good morning.

Before we turn to the really serious stuff, an update on the "mystery missile" story from California.

When we last checked on this odd tale, no one — including the military folks who monitor the airspace above the U.S. — seemed to know just what was seen off the coast near Los Angeles Monday evening. But it sure looked like a missile had blasted into the sky.

Now, though, there's talk that it might have been something as simple as the exhaust from a jet. As ContrailScience.com writes, from some angles jet contrails can look like missile trails. And it's got photos to prove the point. (H/T Fox News.)

Still, as the Los Angeles Times reports, some experts who have watched video of the event say they're sure this wasn't just a passenger jet heading off toward the horizon:

"It can't belong to anyone but the military," said Marco Caceres, an analyst with Teal Group Corp., a Fairfax, Va.-based aerospace research firm. The appearance of such a massive rocket contrail near military bases that are known for regularly testing missiles is unlikely to be a coincidence, Caceres said.

NPR's Tom Gjelten reported this morning that the Pentagon says "nothing leads the Defense Department to believe that a missile launch occurred, even inadvertently":

'Mystery Missile'?

Update at 4:05 p.m. ET: We've started a new post because some Internet sleuths say they've figured out which flight likely caused the contrail and that there's a web cam we all can watch that might show it happen again.

Update at 2:50 p.m. ET: Now the Pentagon is saying the trail was most likely created by an airplane. And KCBS-TV in Los Angeles has filed a new report.

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