|White Sands Missile Range rocket launch viewed from Yuma|
White Sands Missile launch as seen from Yuma. Video courtesy Gary Whitney in Yuma
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Morning sky sight caused by missile test
Yuma-area residents were treated to a rare spectacle early Thursday morning, courtesy of missiles fired from New Mexico that left a brilliant white contrail in the sky to the east.
The contrail was described by Yuma resident Ty Mosley as “a luminescent mist in the sky” or a “cloud on fire.”
The twisting, cloud-like formation was also visible in parts of southern Colorado, Utah and Nevada just before sunrise and prompted hundreds of calls and emails to media outlets across the Southwest.
Marine Corps Air Station Yuma and Yuma Proving Ground also received phone calls from people curious about the abnormal sight.
The contrail was created by a Juno ballistic missile launched at 5:30 a.m. Arizona time Thursday and a Patriot surface-to-air missile shortly thereafter, a spokesman for the U.S. Army's White Sands Missile Range told The Associated Press.
The missiles were launched from Fort Wingate near Gallup, N.M. The Juno missile was targeted by the Patriot missile, an anti-ballistic munition.
The rising sun backlit the contrail of the missiles and provided a spectacular morning sight for early risers across the region.