The responses came from across the country – Washington, Iowa, Ohio, New York – each writer expressing intrigue over the mysterious black line in the sky.
Last week, a Clearwater man took two photos of a bizarre line over Honeymoon Island. Black but somewhat transparent, it stretched across a blue sky from the water to a cloud.
Meteorologists developed a possibly theory: A contrail, the visible line of water vapor left in the air by a jet or rocket, had cast a shadow.
The Times asked readers if they had ever seen anything similar. Several had, and some even snapped pictures.
Angela Lyras had photos of a dark line over the East River in New York. She said she saw the jet and contrail too, which offered further evidence that the phenomenon was actually a shadow.
Andrew Stanford said he was sitting on a ridge in Washington, camera in hand, in March of 2001, when he saw a jet cross the sun. Then he saw the contrail's shadow, and he took a picture. It only lasted about 30 seconds, he said.
Frank Dull, a 53-year-old Kent State University graduate, said he's seen a similar black line twice in the skies over central Ohio.
An astronomer in California said he saw a shadow in the sky over Kentucky "some 25 years ago." He never saw it again but said it was aligned with the flight path of a plane in the area, so he is "inclined toward the contrail theory."
Then there was the message from an email account with the signature: "RONS NFL ACCOUNT." The writer suggested it might be a high-powered laser.
"Maybe it's Dr. Evil…lol."
Zachary T. Sampson can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8804. Twitter: @zacksampson.