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Southwest residents awed by N.M. missile contrail

Published September 13, 2012 2:37 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

People across the Southwest, including Utah, got an early morning show in the sky, courtesy of missiles fired from New Mexico that left a brilliant white contrail.

The twisting cloud-like formation was visible in southern Colorado, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas just before sunrise and led to hundreds of calls and emails to area television stations.

A spokesman for the U.S. Army's White Sands Missile Range tells The Associated Press the contrail was from a Juno ballistic missile that was fired at 6:30 a.m. Thursday from Fort Wingate near Gallup, N.M. The Juno missile was then targeted by an advanced version of the Patriot missile fired from White Sands.

The rising sun backlit the Juno missile's contrail and provided a spectacular morning sight for early risers across the region.