The following sequence of shots was taken about 9.5 minutes before the start of the eclipse, 1:12pm EST.

Shooting in burst mode off of a tripod - all 3 shots taken within 1 second. Burst mode is 14 frames per second, so it's reasonable to assume that these 3 photos were taken 1/14sec apart.

Exif: Camera: Canon EOS1DX Lens: Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary. 1/8000s, f/29, ISO 100, focal length 600mm. No filter. enter image description here

  • First image: the aircraft is seen above the sun - no contrails.
  • Second image: completely different trajectory and a contrail (?)
  • 3rd image: the aircraft is gone.

Zoomed in:

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ About the trajectory: the wind is probably moving left to right. $\endgroup$
    – fooot
    Aug 31, 2017 at 23:28
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    $\begingroup$ The contrails in the second image are missing in the first. Contrails can't appear behind an aircraft retroactively like that. In the second image they are right up against the aircraft. These images likely do not show the same aircraft. $\endgroup$
    – Eric Urban
    Aug 31, 2017 at 23:52
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Where in the US was that photographed? $\endgroup$ Aug 31, 2017 at 23:59
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Perhaps if you can give exact time and location FlightRadar24 could be used to identify the aircraft. $\endgroup$
    – Notts90
    Sep 1, 2017 at 7:37
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    $\begingroup$ If I've measured the pixels correctly, this object travelled about 26 times its own length between the two frames. If the frames are only 1/14 of a second apart, this is bloody fast; for comparison, an SR-71 blackbird travels about 2.2 times its body length in the same amount of time (assuming a speed of 2200 mph.) Hell, the Space Shuttle "only" travelled about 10 times its own length during re-entry. Either the time between the frames is much different than 1/14 second, or this isn't an aircraft. $\endgroup$ Sep 1, 2017 at 18:58

2 Answers 2


Based on the second picture and the list of US military jet, I would guess F-22 Raptor, and since this kind of aircraft usually fly by 2, the jet in the first picture is maybe a second F-22.


As for the timing of the shots, the trail we see in the second pic not appearing in the 3rd is telling me they were shot with at least a couple of seconds interval. That would also explain why each jet appears only in one pic.

  • $\begingroup$ " is telling me they were shot with at least a couple of seconds interval" but the timestamp is the same for each photo, suggesting, as the OP said in the question, that they were shot within a much smalle timeframe $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Sep 9, 2017 at 13:13

The first plane that came into my head after seeing these pictures was the F-117 Nighthawk:

F-117 Nighthawk

However, this object pictured could easily be something else (maybe not even a plane) due to the low quality of the object and its speed, so no answer will be 100% accurate.

  • $\begingroup$ I was under the impression the Nighthawk fleet had been retired years ago. Are there any still flying? $\endgroup$ Sep 1, 2017 at 12:15
  • $\begingroup$ Yes I was thinking the same whilst I was writing the answer. However they may still have a few left over. But I have no idea if they would fly them. $\endgroup$
    – Mark
    Sep 1, 2017 at 12:22
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    $\begingroup$ Nvm I found this website explaining why we might still see them in the skies. intercepts.defensenews.com/2014/11/… $\endgroup$
    – Mark
    Sep 1, 2017 at 12:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Mark That article is from 2014. Plus, the shape of the image doesn't have two distinct wing tips, but instead has a singular surface, more like that of the X-32, but even then, it's not similar enough. I doubt it's either one. s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/0e/2d/a7/… That, plus the contrails suddenly appearing where they were not in earlier images, makes this collage seem very fake. $\endgroup$
    – SnakeDoc
    Sep 1, 2017 at 16:44
  • $\begingroup$ At the level of detail shown in the photographs, it could be pretty much any delta-winged aircraft. It seems much more likely to be something in current inventory. $\endgroup$ Jun 12, 2018 at 12:36

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