Mar 1, 2012 4:03 PM by Andy Koen

Mysterious lights identified as military flares

Maybe you've seen them, a series of bright lights seeming to hover in the night sky then slowly disappear. Turns out those unidentified flying objects have been identified as flares used by soldiers at Fort Carson for training purposes.

To be precise, the lights that were seen by many people in the Pueblo area at around 7:50 Wednesday night were 120 millimeter illumination rounds. Lt. Col. Steve Wollman says it's typical for troops to launch anywhere from one to four rounds at a time depending on the size of the ground area that commanders want illuminated.

The rounds themselves are roughly the diameter of a grapefruit and are launched from mortars. They come equipped with parachutes but are launched so high that they give off the appearence of floating.

Lt. Col. Wollman says the projectiles have a burn time of a couple of minutes. Because the illuminating element is physically burning, Wollman says they tend not to use them in heavy wind when there may be a risk of a wildland fire.

Wollman says similar training is scheduled for next week. Depending on the weather, the rounds may be visible once again.

Click here to see a YouTube video of the lights that posted last night by a News 5 viewer.

And here is an interesting article about 120 mm illuminating cartridges themselves.


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