"Earthquake light is an unusual luminous aerial phenomenon
that reportedly appears in the sky at or near areas of
tectonic stress, seismic activity, or volcanic eruptions."
Considering there were reports of seismic activity in the area around the approximate time of the event, it's possible that ionized air promoted formation of sprites and/or ball lightning.
I bet he saw this hypersonic vehicle being blown up and the lights from a massive observation fleet.
"An experimental hypersonic weapon developed to reach targets anywhere in the world within an hour has been destroyed by the US military four seconds after its launch for “public safety”.
The test in Alaska in the early hours of Monday morning was aborted after controllers detected a problem with the system, the Pentagon said, and the launcher is believed to have detonated before the missile was deployed."
"Then, very far in the distance ahead of us, just over the horizon an intense lightflash shot up from the ground. It looked like a lightning bolt, but way more intense and directed vertically up in the air. "
edit - I've posted the suggestion to his blog thingy, am going to keep an eye to see what the Flying Dutchman makes of it, if anything. Also, is a suitable handle really, given the context.
“The weapon exploded during takeoff and fell back down in the range complex.”
Vertical lightning bolt + thin layer of cloud + red and green glows = MIRV re-entry, underwater nuclear detonation, excited oxygen ions bashed loose from seawater.
The Russians have been bragging about their new SS-27 variants domestically and internationally quite a bit. Geopolitically everything's currently a bit up in the air.
Also, any radiation from this could be written off as Fukushima spill-over.
Just a thought. Hope I'm wrong.
Also if that's true it means that they lied about it being "in the range complex" - looks like it almost made its way to Russia.. explains why they detonated it.. nice little engineer/QA conspiracy theory
Them all being red at first could just be a color code for 'Oh shit, something unexpected has occurred with the immensely dangerous thing that we are downrange of'.
St. Elmo's fire: http://www.pbase.com/flying_dutchman/image/156304671
Northern lights from inside the cockpit: http://www.pbase.com/flying_dutchman/image/155775399
Clutching at straws.
I wish the pilot had indicated exact UTC time the phenom happened. Hard to pinpoint but nevertheless, his position and the quake's position are quite close, even if the two events were hours apart.
"A light or glow in the sky sometimes heralds a big earthquake. On 17 January 1995, for example, there were 23 reported sightings in Kobe, Japan, of a white, blue, or orange light extending some 200 meters in the air and spreading 1 to 8 kilometers across the ground. Hours later a 6.9-magnitude earthquake killed more than 5500 people..."
"Rocks That Crackle and Sparkle and Glow: Strange Pre-Earthquake Phenomena"
"Our first suspicion was this has got to be a mistake. There must be something stupid we are doing," said Professor Troy Shinbrot, of Rutgers University, New Jersey.
"We took a tupperware container filled with flour, tipped it back and forth until cracks appeared, and it produced 200 volts of charge.
"You, Sir, have caught some absolutely breathtaking photos of POSITIVE ET'S AND THEIR CRAFT CLEANING UP THE FUKUSHIMA RADIATION AND SAVING THE PLANET AND IT'S ECOSYSTEM FROM SURE ANNHILATION!...It is QUITE OBVIOUS WHAT THOSE LIGHTS ARE, MY "SILLY WABBITS"!!!"
What about a tide of bioluminescent bacteria or algae? Typically these emit blue light and are known, in the case of bacteria, as the 'milky seas effect'. But algal tides sometimes bioluminesce red or orange. With a high local concentration of nitrogen or another limiting nutrient (which might upswell from the seabed due seismic activity below) you might get extremely high concentrations leading to the patterns shown in the photograph.
The plane was travelling more south that these dots.
Sprites/elves are my favorite atmospheric effect :)
If you're not familiar, it's a fiction podcast that presents itself as a community announcement hour on the town of Night Vale's public radio station. There was a particular story arc involving a sentient, glowing cloud that descended on town and demanded to be made a part of the city council.
It's free, and it's cute. If you like such things, check it out. http://commonplacebooks.com/
I could be wrong, but I think it would be almost impossible to capture an 8-second exposure while flying and somehow manage to keep the stars from becoming light trails - at least not without some very serious camera stabilization equipment.
Since the photographer didn't seem to mention anything special used for taking the photos, I'm inclined to say they've been 'shopped.
Plane on autopilot + camera steadied by plane body + fisheye lens (which he was using) makes this very believable.
EDIT: not to mention, we are all hurtling around the Earth at around 1,000 miles per hour AS WE SPEAK. If that doesn't produce trails (it doesn't, see my math below), a few extra hundred MPH in a plane doesn't change jack squat.
EDIT: I assume all the downvoters can provide us with links to their libraries of long-exposure, night aerial photography without using gyros?
EDIT: MATH: Assume the horizontal FOV is ~90 degrees (conservative according to Wikipedia). 30 (time) seconds around the Earth is (90/360)/(24x60x60/30) = 1/720 of that field. Meaning, you'd need a 720 px image to even see one PIXEL of blur due to the rotation of the Earth. The additional velocity of the plane contributes MUCH LESS than this; hence it is not visible.
If a 10mm lens can capture ~120° angle of view, then the image at 1024 px (low quality) represents 0.117° per pixel. In the 30s exposure, there is < 3 px represented by many stars, so that's 0.351° of tolerance.
How often have you flown in an airplane with less than 1/3 of a degree of drift on any axis over 30 seconds?
Yes, I'm quite familiar with the rotation of the earth and its effects on long exposures (I do some astrophotography myself). I'm not referring to that here, but rather to the normal instability of an airplane.
EDIT: I'm not just referring to pitch, but also to roll, yaw and vibration.
Not to mention that these are not the first pictures of stars this guy has taken from a plane: http://www.pbase.com/flying_dutchman/image/155755548
Taken out of context, the few photos included in this post did seem more suspicious, but it looks like a combination of very good/stable conditions and a lack of resolution to notice more streaking.
2. Mechanical image stabilization exists and is common. Not sure whether fisheye lenses have it, but:
3. Fisheye lenses GREATLY reduce parallax error. Do the math out.
4. The vibration would NEED to be rotational, not lateral, for all the same reasons discussed above (stars are too far for lateral motion to change their apparent position). However little lateral vibration there is in an airplane, I guarantee there's even less rotational vibration. Sound/vibration simply doesn't work that way.
EDIT: Note that JPC seems to be preparing for a naming-of-feature challenge, which in itself is an interesting aspect of the whole story! Go for it, I say!
Down vote trolls, down vote personal attacks, down vote propaganda - sure.
Downvoting to express disagreement was explicitly sanctioned by pg back in February 2008.
Just to be sure, I ran the watermarked "original" through FotoForensics:
There's some artifacts around the area but the overall pattern of the noise seems to check out. The EXIF data is also still intact (albeit processed through Photoshop), he'd have to be somewhat committed to forge that as well.
I still see trails on the outer edges of some pics though.
You've seen the Hubble Deep Field image, right? The one where Hubble's operators found an entirely empty region of sky and stared at it for over 134 hours over ten days and 342 exposures (mostly separated to keep individual exposures from being degraded by cosmic ray strikes).
That's really not comparable with an aircraft, moving through the atmosphere, with turbulence, engine vibration, and other factors contributing to deviations from a steady trajectory. Though the image does appear to be fairly plausible from others' comments.
The hubble is above the atmosphere to reduce other kinds of optical interference, but streaking isn't one of them.
Most such long exposures span at least several minutes, though.
This naming convention they are using doesn't seem scalable.
Hubble Deep Field
Hubble Ultra-Deep Field
Hubble Extreme Deep Field
Good guidance, getting above turbulence, and having specific compensation for movement/motion all helps.
My points stand: the characteristics of Hubble are not directly related to cost, and attributing the distinction to that alone is a poor explanation.
Some examples here: http://abcnews.go.com/US/northern-california-struck-60-magni...
The pattern seems similar.
Although it also appears to be much more distant in that shot, hence the (possible?) reason for a longer exposure.
It's interesting to note that the closer shot is an 8 second exposure, though I'm not sure what bearing that might have.
I missed the other one as well which was a 3 second exposure. So, my mistake. (I thought for certain I didn't see anything with 30 seconds on it, but I think somewhere along the lines my brain filtered out the watermarks inappropriately, which I shouldn't have done.)
Although I'm still puzzled why some are getting caught up on the frame with a 30 second exposure. The image in question is clearly taken of a distant object, and the other exposures are reduced in exposure time by an order of magnitude.
Clearly, there was something occurring. Whether or not it was volcanic is another story entirely (or whether it was a collection of boats). The only use here though is to argue whether the differing exposure times was intentional in order to capture an image that differed from the actual event. But given the different exposure times, the alternative explanation is that he selected them based (at least in part) on proximity to the point of interest.
I guess for that 8s the plan was very stable (no rolling/pitching) AND the focal length is short enough and the resolution low enough the streakiness is masked. I'm still impressed by the amount of stars he captured.
(TLDR: consider (a) how the moon does not appear to move when viewed from a car moving in a straight line, and (b) that the surface of the Earth is constantly moving at ~1,000 MPH.)
No, because that would kick all sorts of ass.