What’s this weird thing in the desert near Tonopah, Nevada?

Every now and then, we receive interesting heads-up about things (reports, images, docs, etc) that might be loosely (or not) related to the standard topics we discuss at The Aviationist.

The following images may be among those weird things. They were taken by a passenger on a commercial flight, near Tonopah, Nevada towards the end of last year.

Since Tonopah was the base used to test the F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter jet and is not far from Nellis Air Force Base, anything that pops up over there it’s at least intriguing (even if most probably not related to any “Black Project”).

Light energy collector or what?

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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. A quick bit of image aalysis/interpretation of just the first image reveals all: look at the central point of the circle. You’ll see a tower. Notice how some of the surface of the circular patterns appear very reflective? That’s becuase they all are – they’re mirrors.
    This is a large circular solar array arranged in a circle to continuously focus light to a point on the central tower – a Solar Power Tower (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_tower)
    The visible (dark) gaps can be for two reasons: sections are still under construction and awaiting their mirrors or where there are mirrors they’re being viewed at such an angle as to be offering no reflection and thereby by appear relatively dark.

  2. UFO landing beacon!!! No, I’m sure it’s a solar energy project. Good posts here explaining that!

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