A weather camera photo of what appears to be a missile launching from Whidbey Island has made international news, despite the fact that Naval Air Station Whidbey Island says there are no facilities on the island that could launch a missile.
“There was no missile launch from NAS Whidbey Island,” said base spokesman Mike Welding.
Welding said he asked Naval Air Station Whidbey Island’s air traffic controllers if any activity was recorded, and they reported no flights and nothing “unusual” at the time.
The photo was taken by a Skunk Bay Weather camera, located in Hansville, Wash., around 3:50 a.m. on Sunday, June 10. The photo was posted on a weather and climate blog by University of Washington weather expert Cliff Mass on Monday and was soon picked up by national and international news outlets.
Welding said no one at the base knew what the image captured. The camera is operated by Greg Johnson, of Skunk Bay Weather.
“I knew when I first saw it that it was going to be controversial,” Johnson said in an email.
He said after looking at the facts, he doesn’t think it could be a missile anymore, especially with the lack of noise reported at the time.
The photo was taken with a 20-second exposure, according to the blog post, which can distort the image.
A different blog post on Skunk Bay’s website says the Department of Defense also confirmed it did not launch a missile in the area.
The website The Warzone investigated the mysterious photograph by looking at aircraft tracking in the area of the camera.
The blog speculates the image captured an air ambulance helicopter moving away from the camera, which was blurred because of the slow length of exposure.
Johnson said he isn’t convinced by the theory that it’s a helicopter.
“Quite honestly, I can’t really buy into that,” he said. “But, I really have no idea what this is … I am parking it in my mind as a mystery. I have captured several images over the years that still remain a mystery.”