This is NOT a Rainbow [Morning Overhead Contrail]


New Member
I woke up this morning to what looked like a rainbow. But it was a typical cold, crisp northeast Ohio day with no precipitation. When I looked at it closer (it was HUGE) it just abruptly ended mid arc. So I took pictures. It can't be a plane, no airports close to me and a plane doesn't take off at that big of an angle. No fireworks or bottle rockets, it is just too big and there no noise. Any ideas what this is? I took quite a few pics.

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Mick West

Staff member
That's a jet contrail, probably about 20 minutes old.

It's illuminated by the morning sun, so has a bit of an orange tint. Contrails are actually not associated with airports, as the planes are too low to make contrails when approaching or leaving an airport, so you see them from fly-over traffic, often in very remote areas.

The angle is an illusion, it's actually flying perfectly horizontal, in level flight. It looks angled because it's flying close to you overhead. Try imagining the path of a plane in the sky as it flies from 50 miles away in the west, to directly overhead, and then 50 miles away in the east.

Contrails can stop abruptly as they enter or leave different air masses.


Senior Member.
Looks like part of a contrail (or even just a cloud) lit by a low sun on the horizon. The pink tinge occurs all the time at sunrise and sunset. Just because you have no airports nearby doesn't mean that a flight didn't go over.


New Member
Thanks! I really wondered what it was and when i searched places to post it to find out what is was I knew I wouldn't get a conspiracy theory here! :)