An amateur photographer thought the world was ending when she caught pictures of a Trident missile in action near Los Angeles.
The series of pictures captured by Porter Tinsley, who posted them on her blog Less Than Amateur, show a white halo backdropped by the Milky Way. She took the pictures while standing on Bombay Beach, two and a half hours away from L.A., on Saturday (Nov. 7) during one of two Trident missile tests over the weekend. You can see a time-lapse video of the missile test here made from Tinsley's amazing photos.
"When it exploded and kept expanding, I realized it wasn’t a plane on fire but thought there was a good chance that a chemical or nuclear weapon had detonated over Los Angeles/Southern California," Tinsley wrote on her blog, where you can see more photos of the event.
"All I could do was stand there and realize life as I knew it could be over in a few minutes. So I did what anyone else would do. I took pictures of it."
The unannounced light show concerned people across California, but it turned out to be the first of two Trident 2 D5 missiles that were tested this week. When the three-stage missile gets rid of one of its stages, it produces a spectacular flash.
The U.S. Navy confirmed the test on Monday night. The Trident "demonstrate[s] the readiness of our nation’s nuclear triad and serve to assure our allies and deter our potential adversaries," said U.S. Navy Adm. Ceil Haney, head of Strategic Command, in the statement.
Tinsley stresses on her blog that she is not a professional photographer, but "bought a nice camera" and hosts the blog in part to learn how to use it.