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Don't see a big story here.
Use something as reliable as printed words on paper.
Make words change by a trick - unexpected and hard to detect...
And you expect people to act consistently?
I expect them to be tricked.
As I watched today, I said, "What's that?". To the east a thin bright white contrail grew longer and longer. What's that? I had no idea. Something "shiny" was drawing a line on the sky. The contrail quickly went from a line to jaggy. My guess - Something must be traveling vertical, going through different wind layers.
Acceleration was easily visible - not at all like a cruising plane. It changed course from what may have been nearly vertical to something much closer to horizontal. At times, a long "wake" was visible - a bright line vee from the base of the "shiny thing".
I had no idea what I was looking at. Now I do.
Shiny? The rocket exhaust flame? The distance from Bowie to Wallops is on the order of 100 miles, I can't have been seeing the rocket itself.
It might be decade or so since that last time I've seen a "not looking for it" launch display from the Wallops area.