This is a very odd looking trail. Physically it looks like a contrail, however it has an unusually stark contrast with the background, and it is very abruptly terminated at each end.
It looks like a cloud, but it isn't -- a natural cloud -- anyway.
It's a white, fluffy formation that could have been emitted from the back of an aircraft, though not like any aircraft that's been made public. So, what is it? And is it connected to all those other puffy lines we see in our skies?
"Just out here, about half-way across the pond," said Malcolm Harris.
On a clear day in December, Alamo resident and amateur photographer Malcolm Harris stopped to capture images of ducks sitting in water just off highway 93. He spotted something else in the sky above the field.
"It was long, puffs of smoke," Harris said. "It looked like a rope, kind of like there was a solid rope on top, then little puffs of smoke underneath it. I would say definitely it was manmade, it wasn't anything natural."
Harris, the son of a longtime Las Vegas newsman, ran some calculations based on his lens angle and estimates the odd cloud was about a mile distant and perhaps 500 yards long, but it was dense, like puffs of exhaust that had been crammed together.
"You could see the very beginning and the end and it was very clean and it stood by itself. There wasn't anything else around it. I've seen clouds being made out here in the desert. All of a sudden you see a cloud being made, and that is not what was going on," Harris said.
He didn't hear anything, so whatever formed the cloud was quiet.
The contrast can, I think, be explained as a combination of lucky back-lighting, and some post processing contrast enhancement. Adjusting it for a more naturalistic look, and it looks a lot more like a contrail:
Here's a photo I took today, waiting until the contrails was backlit by the sun, to show how you can get quite stark contrast:
But the KLAS photo is still very strange. Could it be some kind of military jet doing a brief burt of power? Is it smoke? Is it fake?