FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Early risers on New Year’s Day walking along the beach to see the sunrise on the Treasure Coast also saw what appeared to be a mysterious rocket launch.
With no scheduled launches at Cape Canaveral, it is not immediately known what occurred.
Photos taken by John Simard of Fort Pierce seem to show the object going up with what looked like a long trail of fire behind it.
Several viewers from Vero Beach to Fort Pierce told NewsChannel 5 they saw the object, which was located east of the shore and out in the Atlantic Ocean.
“It’s very easy to speculate people think they see something,” says Sanford Manley, a former historian with the Strategic Air Command.
Manley says what people saw was actually the contrail of a plane being illuminated by the rising sun.
“The plane is very high catching the sunlight before the sun has come up, therefore it's glowing red,” Manley said.
He says the phenomenon typically occurs more often with planes during sunsets than sunrises.