Re: Unusual short lasting 'contrail' seen over Canberra, Australia

From: Brent Gordon (
Date: Sun Jan 17 2010 - 19:09:21 UTC

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    My best guess is that your contrail was caused by a plane passing 
    through a layer of humid air while the plane was climbing to cruising 
    altitude.  A thin layer of humid air (say a few thousand feet thick) 
    between two layers of dry air would give a short contrail that would 
    dissipate quickly.
    As for the cloud picture on your blog, those are lenticular clouds.  See 
    On 1/16/2010 11:42 PM, Paul Floyd wrote:
    > Just wondering if anyone can help with the following.
    > At about 5.05 pm Australian Eastern Summer Time today, I have looked
    > up and seen a very short (maybe 10 degrees long) 'contrail'. I watched
    > it for a couple of minutes and it rapidly dissipated over that time.
    > It dissipated in a swirling manner.
    > I am wondering if there have been either any reports of either a small
    > air burst of a minor planet or a satellite entering the atmosphere
    > above Canberra?
    > I figure I would ask and look silly for asking rather than not asking.
    > My reason for doing so is the rapid dispersion of the trail and it's
    > shortness. The contrail was orientated approximately North South. This
    > is also approximately where a major flight path is over Canberra for
    > high flying jet aircraft - so that is the most logical explanation.
    > I will post an image on my blog at
    > later.
    > Regards,
    > Paul Floyd.
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