Yes, a jet, flying in strange patterns over six million people. I do realize that my spherical projections need serious work, but I wanted to show the sheer SCALE of this thing relative to the big Texas sky (for what it's worth, I think it trumps the lame thing published by Houston Chronicle). That wee structure center-right of photo is our house.
It turns out that it was just NASA doing high-altitude research, but one wonders what goes through their heads. Sixteen years I've lived close to Ellington Field and I've never seen anything like this. For them to perform this exercise on 9/11, on the one day of the year when people are especially sensitive to the potential for copycat crimes involving jet aircraft... well... it's just a little bizarre, I think. It's reminiscent of the time when the federal government thought it would be brilliant to fly an Air Force One replica low over New York City, flanked by fighter jets.
I'm an idiot for not framing this scene behind a half-staff American flag, which were displayed in abundance. In photography as in life, hindsight is always 20/20.