Giant smoke ring hovers over theme park

I sure wish I could have been there to see this.

This is the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. It was a circular formation in the sky that stayed over King’s Dominion [Amusement Park in Eastern Virginia] today for about 10 minutes. We looked away for a minute or two and then looked back and it was no longer there.
Vortex UFO over King’s Dominion


  1. King’s Dominion has a massive rollercoaster called the Volcano that features (you guessed it)…a volcano. It blows smoke rings. End of story.

  2. @#1 – Wow Tak, I thought for *sure* this one would be a shoe in for another hail canon reference. ;)

    “Throw another ziploc of Marlboros in the hail canon”

  3. (should’ve used high resolution in first place), yah, I see the knobbly, smokey texture now. Amazing how stable a vortex ring can be. Didn’t we just have a discussion about dolphin vortex ring bubbles?

  4. Did no one read the article linked at the bottom. It points out the volcano ride smoke rings right there. In fact the article also points out that the original you tube comments offer that as the explanation, and note that its a regular occurrence at the park.

  5. Long-lasting smoke rings are not hard to make. We’ve gotten them accidentally while having fun with explosives a few times. They’re pretty cool, but they’re not otherworldly as some have suggested about this one.

  6. It IS the smoke ring from Kings Dominion’s coaster Volcano. I’ve seen it a lot while there. On clear days they blow away easier but I guess the clouds cap them in temperature wise… The one I remember most was black and it hovered over the coaster and didn’t move for a minute or so…

  7. a good example of how “UFO” photographs are subject to ambiguous interpretation. I imagine they haul out all the oldest images and sieve them through the latest software and enhancement tech every now and then – still no Martians, dammit.

  8. I’ve seen those at the Wings Over Houston Airshow when they do the Tora!Tora!Tora! demonstration. The fake “bomb blasts” on the ground sometimes make these smoke rings which will drift quite some ways.

  9. This is what the “ground pounders” see from below when your ship’s Cloaking Device isn’t functioning properly!

  10. Apparently these “smoke ring UFOs” have been spotted before. This video shows them in 1957 in Fort Belvoir and in 1999 in Orlando, Florida.

  11. the circle appearance is from the plasma created by the invisible ufo.
    An electromagnetic field can create a low pressure area under an aerodyne, or flying saucer. To this can be related the peculiar property of plasma. Plasmas magnetic field is frozen inside while it expands at unimaginable speeds, producing an electrical current. Using plasma, a belt of free air can be created.

  12. They do these at Bonnaroo every year, or for the past four or five at least. I tried to get a picture of a good one, but once i had my camera out the next few were kinda sloppy. More like blobs of smoke than rings. Oh, well…

  13. Ever actually play with smoke rings? They often look like rigid translucent rings; a sharp-edged image. If you use black smoke, they look dark grey as in this video.

    Depending on how you tap the launcher diaphragm, you can make them move fast, slow, or stop in place. You *can* make them turbulent like a whirling cloud, but those kind fly apart and don’t last very long. The clean rings last nearly forever since they’re laminar flows, not turbulent. (If you encounter a mysterious sky-ring, then it has to be the clean non-smokey kind.)

    Mount Etna blowing steam-rings

    Blow your own underwater bubble rings


    Smoke ring toy: Mighty Blaster

  14. what kind of vortex ring dynamics would you get from a flock of autonomous robot insect’s wing-force interaction? Birds fly in “V” formation to maximize energy efficiency for the flock, why don’t they fly in toroids? I’ve never seen fish in toroidal school either. The advantage seems to be stability in a fluid medium, surely there was an evolutionary use for that somewhere?

  15. You wish you could have been there to see it?

    The ring or the assinine reactions?

    You can see the ring several times a day just by visiting there or any number of other parks that have the same basic equipment in operation.

  16. damn, my wife is going to get so mad when she finds out i’ve been smoking! you just can’t hide anything on the internet!

  17. I saw something similar years ago. It was during an air show in San Diego and it hovered over over the airfield but it was vertical. I stared at it for about 20 minutes, no one else seemed to notice it (it really required binoculars to see clearly).

    but is was very strange.

  18. It’s a drop (puddle?) of water 1-2″ in diameter on the glass ceiling they have in the line so you can better watch the ride while you’re in line. Parallax effect between the glass and the sky (and the ride, for that matter) confirms this.

  19. See what happens when you use the toaster oven and the cloaking device at the same time?

  20. What ever happened to Unidentified which has a separate meaning to Alien Craft. This is not smoke it’s not influenced by the moving clouds above it. It’s truly an unidentified object.

  21. I was at an air show where one of the pyrotechnic devices made a big black smoke ring (it was a little breezy that day, so there were only a couple that held together).

    That was cool. What was cooler was that one of the guys flying one of the old prop-driven fighters was coming in low across the field and saw it too and dipped the plane down just in time to zip up through the center of the ring. Very cool.

    Probably not an uncommon trick for guys who fly those planes at airshows, but it was the first time I’d seen it done. Lotsa fun.

  22. July 28, 2009 – Six Flags Great Adventure Amusement Park, Jackson, NJ. Same type of ring spotted between 6 and 6:30pm by large group of people by the Kingda-Ka roller coaster. Never lost its shape as it drifted northwest. And there is no Volcano attraction at this park!

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