Mysterious circles over Madawaska Valley

Submitted by Combermere resident Chad Beckwith Smith

On Friday, Nov.4 at 9:58 a.m. looking south over Combermere from Blackfish Bay, I photographed this unusual circular pattern in the sky. My neighbour also witnessed this display, and I wonder how many other Valley residents did too. (Photo Chad Beckwith Smith)

Although I used to work in the airline industry for 17 years and flew all over the world, I never saw anything like this. One possibility is that the vapour trails came from planes in a holding pattern due to not being able to land at an airport because of bad weather. If so, I think they were at too low an altitude and too far from any nearby airport to land safely. Some airline workers have said there are lots of these patterns all over the USA now.

Editor’s Note: Beckwith Smith told The Current that some people think these patterns are Chemtrails; i.e. vapour trails left by chemicals, rather than condensed water vapour due to weather conditions. The scientific community has repeatedly debunked numerous chemtrail conspiracy theories over the past five years.


  1. Eve-Marie Chamot

    They are too linear to be lenticular clouds and their geometric regularity strongly suggests a man-made origin.
    One possibility is that they were caused by student military pilots from CFB Trenton who often fly up here as part of their flight training. It’s only ~20 minutes for a jet fighter to get here from Trenton at even a “leisurely pace” and the pilots practice all sorts of maneuvers as part of their training and leave vapour trails if they fly high and then high-level winds cause these to drift and gradually disperse and become increasingly fuzzy. Once, back in 2020, I was driving west on Hwy 62 at the east side of Maynooth and a big military freighter came north just west of Maynooth at a very lazy speed and quite low and did a big loop and then flew south a few minutes later just west of Hwy 127 and Hwy 62. If you are a habitual sky-watcher you can see all sorts of interesting stuff happening “upstairs”.

  2. Shirley Ellis

    They are called. Lenticular clouds (Latin: Lenticularis lentil-shaped, from lenticula lentil) are stationary clouds that form mostly in the troposphere, typically in parallel alignment to the wind direction. They are often comparable in appearance to a lens or saucer.
    Genus: Stratocumulus, altocumulus, cirrocumu…
    Appearance: lens-like, Saucer-shaped
    Precipitation cloud?: Virga only
    Species: lenticularis (Latin: lentil)

  3. Bill Schroeder

    I also saw these patterns looking south from the Barry’s Bay waterfront that day. My first impression was of pilots doing donuts in the sky, but that didn’t seem like a reasonable explanation

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