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Too widely spaced to be an Audi ad

Cloud circles

Grumpygrumpyowl was among the people who saw the atmospheric equivalent of crop circles over greater Boston late morning and wondered: WTF?

A participant on Boston Reddit might have the answer: Contrails from a plane that was doing circles over the Boston area - a plane owned by a company that specializes in aerial reconnaissance and surveillance.



to be advertising the Boston 2024 Olympics.


People are too damn nosey sometimes should just keep walking kehd!

I get it's signifying the Boston accent or phrasing somehow but nobody pronounces it this way.

What gives? Anyone?


Only if they're talking about one of a particular brand of sneakers. Which is another thing nobody does.

That's how people who talk funny think it sounds.

The pilots were practicing their planemenship.

They had a workbook to fill out. Today was O day.


Sky-writers have to practice someplace.

It’s the coming of Tan. Magoo.

yesterday. The reason that was given there is planes couldn't land in Seattle due to fog and we're circling Portland.

Those circles are way too tight for a jumbo jet.

Some of my family members posted the contrail swoops - they were many miles in diameter. It wasn't entirely because of the fog out at SeaTac, but also because of the humidity and lack of wind in Portland led to contrails that stuck around a lot longer.

Unless I am missing something, the contrails explanation makes no sense. Imagine that the plane makes a perfect circle (relative to the air around it) and leaves a perfectly circular trail. What happens after that? Does it turn off its trail-making machinery and hop over to a clear spot to begin the next circle? If it is just circling in one spot, why multiple circles, rather than one that just gets thicker and thicker? One of the twitter posts claims that the plane is flying in stationary circles which are being moved by the wind. If there was wind, then flying in a stationary circle wouldn't leave a circular trail at all. Above all, what would cause the disconnects in the trail?

Clearly a simpler explanation, like aliens advertising Audis (the logo is slightly different on Epsilon Eridani b), is called for.

It can be easily demonstrated by continuously drawing a circle on a sheet of paper while holding your drawing hand stationary and slowly sliding the paper to one direction. Visualize your hand as the plane, the desk as the ground, and the paper as the air.

That would not lead to a series of separated circles, but to a looping line.

A looping line is exactly what the photo above shows. Photos on Reddit (r/boston) may be clearer.

It is a looping line, but the connected part is obscured by the other clouds.