Posted in: Odd News

Google Maps shows Missile over Utah


Interesting Google Maps discoveries are a dime a dozen, but a missile in flight is a rare find. The shot below shows a missile in flight over Utah near the town of Circleville (direct link on Google Maps here)

It’s hard to be sure from the shot, but the Missile appears to be an AIM-9 Sidewinder used by the US Air Force. It’s also a considerable distance from the Utah Test and Training Range, so it would appear to be out of place.

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11 Responses to “Google Maps shows Missile over Utah”

  1. ratherfancy

    Great find indeed. Please keep us updated on any new developments about it.

  2. Meteor

    It's an MD80 or MD90 airliner. The forward white “stub wings” are the inboard portion of the main wings. The aft white “stub wings” are the center portion of the engine nacelles. The stabilizer (aft wings) is the small dark “vee” behind the fuselage. The “smoke trails” are the contrails from the aft mounted engines. You can even see the cockpit windows on the front of the aircraft.

  3. SingleSeat

    Sorry all, but that's not a missile at all. I'm a fighter pilot, I should know. It's not a Sidewinder, while a Harpoon/SLAM-ER might be a good guess but there are several clues to the contrary here. It is most certainly an MD-80 or 90 airframe. The wings are either unpainted (less likely) or painted a darker/less reflective color (more likely). Most airliners wing tops are painted a different color than the fuselage. The white stubs mid-fuselage are only the wing roots. The aft white stubs are the engines, and the tail/stabilizers are the same dark color as the wings and almost invisible (the tail section is approximately the same distance from the wings as the nose is).

    First is the altitude. Contrails start forming in earnest at higher altitudes such as those flown by commercial airliners. Here the contrail is as substantial as that of an airliner too rather than a tiny missile. If it were a larger missile such as a Harpoon or cruise missile it's altitude would be much lower and out of the contrails.

    Second, you can make out the wing forms as dark strips eminating from the “white” (same color as body) side wing roots. You can barely make out the tail aft of the “white” engine shapes.

    Third, at its highest resolution, Google maps/earth can barely make out a T-45 trainer sitting on the ground (go to and a missle would be smaller than that — closer to the length of a car in the parking lot, but a lot thinner and almost impossible to spot. Spotting a Sidewinder would be like looking for something as big as one of the paint stripes in the parking lot without the nice contrast to help you; i.e. not likely with current Google technology.

  4. groovypucks

    I think I agree with the MD 80
    or MD90
    The image on Google maps its hard to make out the area between the wings. There should be engines there. they are either black too or just not there. BUT the contrails are in the right spot. Subdued wings and engine.

    SingleSeat is absolutely right when it comes to a AIM-9 Sidewinder being only 2.85 m in length it would be a speck “if anything on here”.

    this is gonna drive me crazy till I know hahaha

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