Mysterious light in the sky? Missile tests leave glowing contrail

PHOENIX - A "glowing" contrail seen from the Valley shined bright Thursday morning and had hundreds of viewers emailing and calling ABC15 and was reportedly also visible from Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, California and Nevada.

The formation was seen around 5:30 a.m. and eventually disappeared.


It was a contrail from missile tests at the White Sands, New Mexico Missile Complex, according to spokesman Drew Hamilton.

The government stated it did not have any close-up images to release on Thursday, but another spokesperson said some could be released on Friday.

Although the complex is 330 miles away from the Phoenix metro area, many Valley viewers saw it and snapped photos.

"Everything went exactly as planned. We've done this kind of thing before," Hamilton said.

Did you see it? Send us your photos to .

The following is a news release from White Sands Missile Range:

WhiteSands Missile Range conducted a missile test today producing a contrail visible from as far away as Phoenix, Az., Las Vegas, Nev. , and Salt Lake City, Utah.

The test of the Patriot Advanced Capability 3 or PAC-3 missile was conducted using a Juno missile as a target. The Juno was launched from Fort Wingate near Gallup N.M., and flew to White Sands Missile Range to be intercepted by the PAC-3.

The sunlight lit up the contrail from the Juno creating a light show.  The Juno performed as expected. This was the 14 th time a large ballistic target missile has been fired from Fort Wingate since 1998. The contrail has not always been visible from so far away depending upon the time of day and atmospheric conditions.

Range personnel coordinated the test with FAA and other authorities to ensure that the test was conducted safely. The White Sands work force is experienced in conducting complex missile testing.

WhiteSands Missile Rangeis member of the Army Test and Evaluation Command and is a premiere test location for the Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as foreign and civilian customers.

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