Southern Utah
5:48 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Missile Testing in Distant New Mexico Lights Up Southern Utah Skies

Southern Utah residents woke to an odd sighting in the eastern sky, but the source was actually over New Mexico and was visible throughout the American southwest.

To many southern Utah residents the odd, meteor-like flash, which left a corkscrew-shaped contrail, appeared to have contacted the ground very nearby, but according to Army Public Affairs it was actually a Pac-3 missile test at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

There have been 14 such tests at the New Mexico site since the early 1990s.

The test actually involved 2 missiles: the Pac-3 and a target missile. The spiraling fall of the disabled target created quite a light show in the early Thursday morning skies.

The spectacle was visible not only in southern Utah, but in much of the southwestern United States. The Army suggests that the corkscrew contrail was actually more a result of the wind than of the actual flight path of the missiles.