Do You Believe Authorities' Explanation for Strange Worm-Shaped Cloud in the Alaskan Sky?
Alaskan social media was abuzz this week after several residents near Lazy Mountain noticed a very odd-looking cloud, prompting a response from local law enforcement amid the wild conspiracy theories and speculation as to its origin.
Photos of the cloud were posted to the Facebook group Palmer Alaska Buzz and, zoomed in as the photos were, one can certainly see why they were worthy of note.
Spotted in a mostly clear, early morning sky on April 7 at about 7 am, the cloud almost appeared to take a strange, worm-like shape.
“Looks like something from a Peter Jackson movie,” one Facebook user commented, as others noted they’d seen it as well or wondered if it was a downed aircraft, some sort of meteor, or indicative of Russian military activity amid the ongoing conflict over its actions in Ukraine.
The Bellingham Herald reported that rumors of a crash or some other oddity or disaster reached the Alaska State Troopers and the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center, prompting an investigation.
“There have been no reports of overdue aircraft or ELT activations indicating an aircraft crash,” the Troopers wrote in a Facebook post later in the day. “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.”
“Further investigation revealed that a large commercial jet was flying in that area around the time that the photos and video were taken,” the post continued. “The aircraft was contacted and reported normal flight operations on its way to JFK airport in New York. 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,” it added.
Andy Vermaut shares:If This A Contrail From A Commercial Jet Or Is It Something More?: A large worm-like cloud appeared this week in the sky over Alaska’s Lazy Mountain, prompting a state investigation. Facebook screenshot
Daily Mail:… https://t.co/4mGtXfqVT8 Thank you. pic.twitter.com/7VA9JIlcc4
— Andy Vermaut (@AndyVermaut) April 9, 2022
To look at the photos of the mysterious cloud, this explanation seems to hold up pretty well in this writer’s humble opinion, but social media users were unimpressed.
One quipped they’d watched too many episodes of the X-Files to trust this official explanation, while others commented with Men in Black and alien abduction gifs.
“The old swamp gas reflecting light from Venus story, something definitely went down, if you see black helicopters and men in uniform, just know it’s not normal,” one user wrote.
“Me: Seen 14 billion aircraft and 16 years USAF but never seen that before,” wrote another. “The news: Ya bro it was a plane.”
“Imagine being the people so dumb you think an airplane contrail is something else. Like have they never seen a jet before?” wrote one particularly cynical and skeptical commenter.
However, meterologist Eddie Zingone, who works with the National Weather Service in Anchorage, Alaska, told the Anchorage Daily News, that the official explanation holds up.
“First of all, how thick it is on one side — the bottom left part is much thicker, which is what we’d expect,” he said, agreeing that his best guess was that the mysterious cloud was “a very vivid contrail.”
On the original Facebook post, some commenters speculated about a rocket launch that had been planned from the Poker Flat Research Range, which is operated by the University of Alaska’s Geophysical Institute under contract to NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility under the umbrella of the Goddard Space Flight Center.
Yet another, however, shared screen shots of the flight path for a Kalita Air 747 which appeared to have passed over Lazy Mountain on its way to JFK at the time the cloud was spotted, consistent with the troopers’ statement on its origins.
It seems to me that, were there a suspicious, top-secret, or sinister explanation for the strange cloud, it wouldn’t have been so easy for the troopers to explain away.
What do you think?
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.