"In the clean dark sky, you can see flashes from a missile from that long distance", he said. Hwasong-15, according to North Korean state media, reached an altitude of 4,475 kilometers (2,800 miles), and put the "whole" United States mainland in its range. Langbroek suggested the images may have been composites, because they picture star constellations that should not appear next to each other. The report came about one hour after the missile was launched from a site north of Pyongyang, Yonhap reported. It was reported that he determined the direction of the photos based on the shape of the plumes of smoke coming out of the engine of the rocket.
Images of the launch of the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) show it being blasted off into the night against a starry sky - but there are inconsistencies in the photos.
North Korea has long objected against joint drills by the two allies, with Pyongyang's ambassador to the United Nations ruling out negotiations with Washington in November, citing America's "hostile policy" against his country and continuing joint exercises.
Moreover, a wide-open aperture and fast shutter speed would be used to capture the missile's rapid ascent, in which case, stars would not be seen clearly in an image, even in North Korea where there was very low light pollution.
Laos is known for its long and close relations with North Korea since establishing diplomatic ties and opened its embassy in North Korea in 1974. However, it has failed to give prior notice before its various missile tests this year.
That's an important data point that helps experts calculate everything from range to payload.
Recent missiles launched by Pyongyang have landed in Japanese waters.
"Stars just don't look that different a few miles apart, and we have no reason to disbelieve that this launch was from the Pyongsong region north of Pyongyang", McDowell said. Early last month, USA officials told CNN that the North was developing a new, more advanced ICBM, one potentially superior to the Hwasong-14 ICBM tested twice successfully in July.