On Monday night, a mysterious radar blip appeared over southern Illinois and western Kentucky. It lingered for over 10 hours, having traveled for nearly 140 miles before disappearing. The National Weather Service was stunned – the blips resembled a moving storm, but it wasn’t even raining.
Interesting radar return over Wabash County IL, moving south off KPAH radar. pic.twitter.com/wmLGWtXxid
— NWS Paducah (@NWSPaducah) December 10, 2018
The internet was quickly on the case, with social media users sharing their theories. Some suggested that the blips may have been a result of debris from a passing meteor, a simple flock of birds, chemical residue from government weather control, and even aliens.
An Indiana meteorologist tweeted that a pilot claims the mystery was no mystery at all and could be explained by radar-jamming material being released by a Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft.
Information from a pilot appears to confirm that chaff was the mysterious radar echo that traversed #tristatewx late Monday afternoon/evening. Pilot was told by EVV Air Traffic Control that chaff was released by a military C130 northwest of Evansville. @NWSPaducah
— Wayne Hart (@Wayne_C_Hart) December 11, 2018
While the mysterious blips may have been a result of military aircraft, all nearby military bases contend that they didn’t have anything to do with it.
“Whatever aircraft it was, it was not a Scott Air Force Base craft,” Master Sgt. Thomas Doscher said Tuesday. Scott Air Force Base is located in Illinois, east of St. Louis, MO.
A spokesperson for Fort Campbell, located in Kentucky, was not aware of any operation involving a C-130 during the time the mysterious blip appeared on radar. He added, however, that if a plane were involved, it would have been due to a secret special forces exercise.
The War Zone says that the blip was indeed a result of chaff from a C-130 returning home at McLaughlin Air National Guard Base in Charleston after a training exercise on the West Coast.
The National Weather Service later tweeted in support of this theory.