Thursday, July 5, 2018

Noctilucent Clouds - A Great Show Yesterday and Some Interesting Facts About Them

On the morning of July 4th we had a HUGE Noctilucent Cloud show.  There was a brief showing the evening before and then shortly after 2:30am on the 4th the sky exploded with a beautiful display.

Noctilucent Clouds ("Night Shining Clouds") should not be confused with our “earthly” clouds.  These have nothing to do with weather.  They are actually frozen space dust particles floating around 47 to 53 miles above the earth’s surface.  They are visible on the Northern horizon.

The conditions have to be just right for us to see them.  Technically, we are too far south to be in the "sweet spot" for viewing.  They are normally only seen between 50 and 70 degrees latitude.  We are at 48 degrees.

They are only visible for a few weeks either side of the summer solstice.  I have captured them from late May and into the middle of July.

For those who like their sleep...  This may not be a popular event since they are only visible during "Astronomical Twilight".  This varies throughout the year, but right now it is about 3 hours before sunrise....  The chart below shows the current "Twilight" times for our area.  

All of these conditions have to come into alignment before these ice particles can be illuminated.  The sun has to be at just the right angle where it is lower than the horizon, still dark at our level and at the same time illuminating these particles.  The graphic below demonstrates this.

A lot of things have to be just right for us to enjoy events like this.  Plus, there is no way to forecast if they will be visible.  Conditions my be just perfect and they won't show up.  They are very fickle. 

A VERY interesting fact about Noctilucent Clouds is that there are no documented reports prior to 1885....  That can open a ton of questions about..... "Human Caused" vs. "Alien Caused" vs. "Climate Change"....  Have fun with that one.... :)

Still images are beautiful, but I really like how Noctilucents move in a time lapse video.  Here is a compilation from 3 of my cameras.

For the record...  I like my sleep....  That is why I have installed all these automated cameras.... :)  I am a lazy photographer....

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Are Personal Fireworks Worth The Cost?

Cliff Mass does an excellent job of covering the price we all pay for fireworks on the Fourth of July.  There is a lot of good information and he shares the science behind the true impact of this holiday.

He mentions:
  1. Wildfires
  2. Air quality
  3. Injuries
  4. Pets
I would like to add a couple more....  

This should be a time to celebrate our country.  It should also be a time to respect and thank the Veterans who have given us this freedom.  PTSD is very real and many of our veterans suffer severely from this.  This holiday is nothing short of torture for those suffering from PTSD.  Today I spoke with a woman whose neighbor is tortured every year from these fireworks.  He served our country honorably.  He has to be sedated and his wife at his side covering him with a blanket and soothing words to get through the 4th.  I am sure he does not feel appreciated or celebrated during this time.  Just something to think about....

I love our beautiful environment and the wildlife we enjoy year around.  This is why I do what I do with Skunk Bay Weather.  This holiday brings torture to all the beautiful wildlife around us.  If we love the wildlife, why do we allow this to happen.  Just something to think about....

I know that folks who live up here truly appreciate the tranquility and beauty of our area.  Most of those I talk to in the area, do not appreciate or enjoy this holiday because of what it has become.  Fireworks bought on the reservation are not legal off the reservation.  Just something to think about.....    

Please take a moment to read Cliff's excellent blog.  He shares some very interesting scientific facts about the end result of this holiday...

Cliff's Blog     

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Skunk Bay Missile Crisis Over

This has been a very active few days…  My website, Twitter, Facebook and even this blog have had record breaking activity.  It has been impossible to keep up with it.  I have gotten hits and inquiries from all over the world.  I knew when I went public with these images, it was going to be very active.  Well…  I think that was an understatement.

Here is a little history and my reasoning for declaring the Skunk Bay Missile Crisis over. 

When I first saw that image, there was no doubt about it in my mind…  That was one big missile launch.  That’s why I waited for 24 hours before going public.  Cliff Mass and I shared several emails before he posted his blog.  As the day progressed, there were no reports of anybody else seeing it or hearing it.  That is a big, important fact.  A missile of that size would make a lot of noise.  But, the image was so compelling, I really could not completely let go of the theory.  I study these images every day…  Thousands and thousands of these images and have never seen anything like this.  But with no reports of anybody hearing it, I parked it in my mind as a mystery, rather than a fact.  Theories about it being a plane I discounted because they were not in the field of view of my cameras and I see thousands of planes fly over and they don’t look like this image at all.  Tyler Rogoway, an aviation specialist did a lot of research and found it matched an Airlift NW helicopter path perfectly.  But, I still could not buy into it.  Helicopters fly over all the time and they have never looked like that.  The conspiracy theories were rampant, but I could not get on board with them either….  I kept this thing parked as a mystery.  This morning I contacted Air Lift NW to find out if the Nav lights on the helicopter were different in any way.  I got a fairly quick response back from them after they talked with the pilot.  Here is the text:

"They were transiting from Bremerton to Bellingham on a standard instrument flight plan, flying in the clouds with night vision goggles. The search light was retracted flush under the nose, but did not switch off and was facing straight down."

So, the path of the helicopter matches perfectly and now that I know the searchlight was in a locked down position and still on, it makes sense now.

I know my cameras very well.  This was a unique situation that would have resulted in exactly this type of image.  I never thought it would be solved like this….  What an adventure.

I know that many folks will vehemently disagree with this assessment, much as I did in the beginning.  I hope they do continue to keep searching for another explanation, but in this case, I am 99% convinced this is the real solution.  I will always leave that 1% open out there because I love a good mystery…..  :)

Cliff Mass does a great job of giving the details in his blog this afternoon:


Monday, June 11, 2018

Missile Launch On Whidbey Island?

I have been sitting on this since yesterday morning…. My night camera picked up what clearly looks like a very large missile launch from Whidbey Island. I really wanted more information before I shared this with the public. KOMO, KING and KIRO all contacted Whidbey NAS and the Department of Defense. They all said it didn’t come from them…. They said they don’t have the facility to launch large missiles. I ran this image by Robert Lunsford of the American Meteor Society and he said it was definitely not a meteor. It looked like a missile launch to him as well. I shared this with Cliff Mass yesterday and he did a blog on it this morning. It will be interesting if anybody from Whidbey heard or saw this event. 

Click on these images to see them full size.  Here is the full size image:

Here is a blown up crop of the "missile" at the top of the plume....

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Nice Fireball Overnight

We had a very large fireball about 1:00am this morning. 

Here is the image and an overnight time lapse:

Here is a single image:

Friday, May 25, 2018

A Little Catch Up ..... Some Time Lapses From The Last Few Days....

There have been some incredible time lapses and images in the past few days and I am just now getting around to posting them.

Sunrise 5/25/18

An Aerial Sunset Video - 5/24/18

Sunset From Cam 1 - 5/24/18

A Starry Night Under A Bright Moon - 5/24/2018

On May 22 there was blue sky above me and fog all around.  I put the drone up to see what I could see...  It socked in really fast and I brought the drone down as fast as possible.  It made for an interesting video....

It's been a pretty active few days.  On another note, I am on Instagram now as well.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Sunset - May 16, 2018

A very nice sunset last night....  Had to go up in the air to see it from here...