Sunday, May 20, 2012

What’s Up With The Strange Lights In The Sky?

double sun
What’s Up With The Strange Lights In The Sky?
By Dorraine Fisher
There have been increased reports lately about some strange lights in the sky. One TCC member photographed a diamond-shaped light in the daylight sky just last week. And a supposed double sun at sunrise was reported in Oregon at about the same time. And there have been many others.
            UFO sighting reports have increased this year, and with the Mayan 2012 prophecy looming over the year, many people are watching the universe a bit more carefully these days, perhaps trying to discern if this year and all its strange phenomena are really any different than years past.
            And are these strange lights really UFO’s, or is there a good explanation?
            To gather some insight,  I consulted my old friend Phil Douglas, an amateur astronomer who’s been studying the skies for most of his adult life.  I use the word amateur reluctantly as Phil has written many articles on the subject and has as much knowledge as any scientist in the field.  I’ve spent more than a few evenings with him and his wife and his telescope viewing the night sky over a few drinks and conversation.
            When asked about the reported double sun, that was said to look like another sun that seemed to rise just before the actual sun, he said this:

            “It most likely is the shifted image of the sun itself.  Our dense atmosphere bends (refracts) the light of the sun near the horizon the same angular diameter as the sun itself. That means that the sun we see, when it touches the horizon at sunset, is actually already below the horizon.  It could be that is what is happening (in reverse) at dawn.”


And here’s what he said about TCC member Jason Morse’s light in the sky:

            “The object appears to be what is called a "sun dog" or parhelion.  It is caused by sunlight being refracted through ice suspended in the upper atmosphere.  If the ice/water molecules are at the proper altitude a circular rainbow appears in the sky around the sun.  Pilots that are high enough can see the entire rainbow and sometimes the double circular rainbow.  The sun dog (brilliant spot) is on the same level (or elevation above the horizon) as the sun.  Usually, if conditions are right there will be another sun dog opposite the first one (on the other side of the sun).  We actually get a lot of these in the Midwest in the late afternoon, usually.  They can look like "unidentified flying objects".

            Other experts may have other opinions, but both incidents are common and have happened many times throughout history.**********

[TCC - Dorraine Fisher is a freelance writer and nature and wildlife enthusiast.She is also a TCC Team Member]
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