Re: On Orbit Rocket Burn Aug. 2 ~0347 UT?

From: David Oesper (
Date: Wed Aug 04 2010 - 01:16:34 UTC

  • Next message: Ted Molczan: "RE: On Orbit Rocket Burn Aug. 2 ~0347 UT?"

    George, Ted, Bill, Gary, et al.,
    Thanks so much for all your research on this "anomaly".  I am now forced to conclude as some of you have suggested that the red glowing cloud was some sort of an optical reflection in the camera optics, but I am at a loss to explain how.  The photos were taken in a location with no visible streetlights or headlights, there were no bright lights near the field of view, and at no point was my red flashlight on near the camera, or pointed in the direction of the camera.  The camera was pointed toward the SSW and never was I in front of the lens.  My wife was using binoculars quite some distance away, and no one else was in the area.  The next photo I took was a ten minute exposure of the Sagittarius-Scutum region with the camera pointed horizontally instead of vertically, pointed towards the south, followed by a five minute exposure of the same region, then Cygnus, and finally Cassiopeia-Andromeda.  None of these photos show any optical anomalies.
    The only difference between the Scorpius-Norma photo with the anomaly and the other photos is that the camera was oriented vertically instead of horizontally on the camera tracker, and that there was a dim, slowly blinking red tower light very low in the ENE, which *might* have shined some light into the camera viewfinder on the back of the camera unlike the other photos I took.  But how would this light have landed on the CCD chip?
    In any event, thank you all for looking into this and I'm so sorry for the false alarm.  Next time I will be more certain I have something real before I post.
    Clear skies,
    David Oesper
    Alpine, TX
    On Aug 3, 2010, at 9:17 AM, George Roberts wrote:
    > Very nice picture but it just doesn't look like something from space mainly because this is a 5 minute exposure and there is no motion.
    > Rocket plumes and fuel dumps look like a still cloud in a picture but when you see them they move pretty fast across the sky.
    > So what could it be?  If it was a reflection from a star in the lens coatings it would look sort of like this (the coatings often turn a white light to red) but I don't think that's the explanation as there is no bright star radially opposite the center point.  Its not dust on the imaging chip which looks similar to this but wouldn't show up in this type of picture.
    > What it really looks like is something out of focus that got lit up briefly. Something probably less than 10 feet away.  Probably less than 10 inches away.  If a bug flew past that spot right as a red flashlight lit it up briefly that might explain it.  A single drop of water or dust on the uv filter lit up by a red flashlight might explain it but seems unlikely and that seems too close.
    > The shape of the red circle looks exactly like an object blured by typical lens blur (out of focus blur).  Photoshop even has a deconvolution feature that uses a circle (not a gaussian circle like I would have thought) to unblur slightly out of focus pictures.
    > Or it could be a reflection from something very bright but outside of the picture like a car headlight or streetlight.  But again if you took 2 pictures, the streetlight would show up in both and in the same spot (but not the car headlight).
    > - George Roberts
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