Mysterious flashes of light from Earth captured by NASA satellite

WASHINGTON, DC — One million miles from Earth, a NASA camera is capturing unexpected flashes of light reflecting off our planet.

The homeward-facing instrument on NOAA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory, or DSCOVR, launched in 2015, caught hundreds of these flashes over the span of a year. NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) instrument aboard DSCOVR is taking almost-hourly images of the sunlit planet from its spot between Earth and the sun. In a new study, scientists deciphered the tiny cause to the big reflections: high-altitude, horizontally oriented ice crystals.

“The source of the flashes is definitely not on the ground,” said Alexander Marshak, DSCOVR deputy project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead author of the new study in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. “It’s definitely ice, and most likely solar reflection off of horizontally oriented particles.”

 

Detecting glints like this from much farther away could be used by other spacecraft to study exoplanets, Marshak said. He is now investigating how common these horizontal ice particles are and whether they’re common enough to have a measureable impact on how much sunlight passes through the atmosphere. If so, it’s a feature that could be incorporated into computer models of how much heat is reaching and leaving Earth, he said.

Spotting bright flashes

Marshak first noticed light flashes occasionally appearing over oceans as he looked through daily EPIC images. Investigating them further, Marshak and his colleagues found similar reflections from our pale blue dot caught the attention of astronomer Carl Sagan in 1993. Sagan was looking at images taken by the Galileo spacecraft, which launched in 1989 to study Jupiter and its moons. During one if its gravitational-assist swings around Earth, Galileo turned its instruments on this planet and collected data. Sagan and his colleagues used that to test a key question: whether spacecraft could detect signatures of life from afar.

“Large expanses of blue ocean and apparent coastlines are present, and close examination of the images shows a region of [mirror-like] reflection in ocean but not on land,” they wrote of the glints.

Flashes of light reflected off oceans – like those referenced by Sagan – could have a simple explanation, Marshak said: sunlight hits a smooth part of an ocean or lake, and reflects directly back to the sensor, like taking a flash-picture in a mirror.

But when the scientists took another look at the Galileo images, they saw something Sagan and his colleagues apparently missed – bright flashes of light over land as well. As the contact listed on the website that posts all EPIC images, Marshak started getting emails from people curious about what the flashes were.

An image from the EPIC instrument aboard DSCOVR, taken on Dec. 3, 2015, shows a glint over central South America (circled in red). Credit: NASA/NOAA/U.S. Air Force.

“We found quite a few very bright flashes over land as well,” he said. “When I first saw it I thought maybe there was some water there, or a lake the sun reflects off of. But the glint is pretty big, so it wasn’t that.”

Instead, he and his colleagues thought of water elsewhere in the Earth system: ice particles high in the atmosphere. They then conducted a series of experiments to confirm the cause of the distant flashes.

First, they cataloged all prospective sunlight glints over land in images from the EPIC camera and found 866 bursts between DSCOVR’s launch in June 2015 and August 2016.

They reasoned that if these 866 flashes were caused by reflected sunlight, they would be limited to certain spots on the globe – spots where the angle between the sun and Earth is the same as the angle between the spacecraft and Earth. When they plotted the locations of the glints with those angles, given Earth’s tilt and the spacecraft’s location, the two matched.

This helped confirm that it wasn’t something like lightning causing the flashes. “Lightning doesn’t care about the sun and EPIC’s location,” Marshak said.

Another feature of the EPIC data helped confirm that the flashes were from a high altitude, not simply water on the ground. Two channels on the instrument are designed to measure the height of clouds, and when the scientists went to the data they found high cirrus clouds, 5 to 8 kilometers (3 to 5 miles) where the glints were located.

(Via NASA Goddard Spaceflight center)

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Bob B.
May 15, 2017 10:53 am

I’m sorry, that was me getting another bright idea.

Reply to  Bob B.
May 15, 2017 10:57 am

In a twinkling, I knew that was true.

MarkW
Reply to  Bob B.
May 15, 2017 12:26 pm

Another flash in the pan.

Auto
Reply to  Bob B.
May 15, 2017 2:34 pm

Umm.
And the science is settled.
Or are we all wrong about that??
Surely whilst things are being found out, the ‘science is’ NOT ‘settled’.
My take – bum boatie only, of course.
Auto

ExSF
Reply to  Auto
May 15, 2017 9:36 pm

Science is never settled. Ever.

Quilter52
Reply to  Auto
May 16, 2017 4:46 am

I thought it was ET phoning home.

Reply to  Auto
May 16, 2017 6:23 am

Science is never settled. Ever.
=====
interesting point. if climate science is settled, then there are no new significant discoveries to be made. otherwise, some new discovery could upset existing theories about climate.
so how do researchers know that there are no new important discoveries out there waiting to be found? how do they know how much it is that they don’t know? Or is the assumption that since we know a lot, there must not be anything important left to discover? what we don’t know isn’t worth knowing?
in which case, why are we funding climate science? if the science is settled, shouldn’t climate move from the scientists to the engineers?

Reply to  Auto
May 16, 2017 11:21 am

If science is ever settled, then I will have to find another line of work.

Reply to  Bob B.
May 15, 2017 4:02 pm

My first hypothesis was Warmunist heads exploding. This is why you use the data in real science, not your hypothesis. No matter how much you want it to be true!

Sweet Old Bob
Reply to  Bob B.
May 15, 2017 4:25 pm

So from ice ? Not a hot flash ?
Phew ! So Mother Nature isn’t suffering from menopause ?
Man , they had me worried a little bit ! (;>))

Reply to  Sweet Old Bob
May 16, 2017 5:21 am

There is no “mother” in nature. It’s just nature.

Mickey Reno
Reply to  Sweet Old Bob
May 16, 2017 9:44 am

Some possible explanations:
Some swamp gas reflected the light of Venus
Invading Jovian Gasbag Aliens (sentient hydrogen gas bubbles that feed off the energy of the Big Red Spot) came to take over the Earth, but didn’t didn’t realize they’d spontaneously combust once they hit our atmosphere. Stupid Jovian Gasbag is as stupid Jovian Gasbag does.
Speaking of stupid gasbags, the exploding Jovian Gasbag aliens above aren’t too different from the plot of L. Ron Hubbard’s “Battlefield Earth.” Hmm makes you wonder…
Naomi Oreskes hit menopause with a vengeance aboard an airliner while simultaneously realizing for the first time, the irony of flying aboard a modern fossil fuel powered airplane to attend an international conference seeking to ban the use of fossil fuels
Those killer aboriginal tribes in the Amazon discovered a new killer tooth whitening product.
S.P.E.C.T.E.R. has a secret evil villian lair in the Amazon rain forest, and they’re testing their secret new super rail gun weapon with which they can blackmail the world’s governments for a MMMMILLLLION dollars.
Al Gore said this spot was the darkest spot on the surface of the planet.
It’s the rapture. And if so, and you’re reading this, or if you typed it, you’re what they call “left behind!”
/sarc

Reply to  Bob B.
May 15, 2017 5:13 pm

I( think it was Hillary signaling the mother ship to beam her up.

Paul
Reply to  Mcalluster Lee
May 17, 2017 5:01 am

Yea they don’t want her either.

Martin Hovland
Reply to  Bob B.
May 15, 2017 10:30 pm

Have you ever heard of ‘Anvil clouds’ also called Cumulunimbus (Cb) ? Have you ever seen the top of a well developed anvil, where the ice crystals fan out by the wind, and where they probably fan out in harmony, with their flat sides facing upwards? This my suggestion for solving this mystery.

Reply to  Bob B.
May 15, 2017 10:51 pm

please…..

teaisstronger
Reply to  Bob B.
May 16, 2017 8:10 am

Would anyone bSelieve anything NASA would report. NASA is not going to admit anything.
[A bit harsh, is it not? Most of NASA works OK. Except for the parts that are broken by politics and bad engineering. Or bad programming. No budgets. Or bad long-range planning instructions from politicians. 8<) .mod]

M Courtney
May 15, 2017 10:58 am

How much area does this glint cover of it can be seen so far away?
Or is it just very bright?

Reply to  M Courtney
May 15, 2017 11:09 am

Maybe they should compare the glints to the amount of sunlight radiated back to space whenever Gavin or Mann’s heads….er…..egos….go outside….

Reply to  M Courtney
May 15, 2017 1:41 pm

From the Abstract: “We construct a yearlong time series of flash latitudes, scattering angles and oxygen absorption to demonstrate conclusively that the flashes over land are specular reflections off tiny ice platelets floating in the air nearly horizontally.”
Y’all might need to understand just what is brightness as a function of distance, area. …

Greg
Reply to  M Courtney
May 15, 2017 1:46 pm

This may be like something I witnessed last year flying over southern England:comment image
https://climategrog.wordpress.com/cloud_reflection_strong_173/
A very strong directional reflection of the sun. Judith Curry suggested that this may be “diamond dust”: fine ice particles.
I am not clear why the reflection only happens in one direction, but it clearly is very directional otherwise the image would be much broader. Now, presumably the ice crystals are randomly oriented, so what causes this strong reflection is a very sharply defined direction ?

Greg
Reply to  Greg
May 15, 2017 1:56 pm

This map shows the water reservoirs identifiable in the photo. It is not reflection from the water.comment image
https://climategrog.wordpress.com/google_farnborough_green-2/
I don’t see any explanation from the DISCOVR team why they expect only horizontal reflections either.

Steve Fraser
Reply to  Greg
May 15, 2017 2:00 pm

Angled glass oval roof to an office building, or one of the lakes perfectly aligned to reflect the sun at you could do it. Flying northward in texas late afternoon, on a clear day hundreds of such reflextions are momentarily blinding out the port side.

Reply to  Greg
May 15, 2017 2:01 pm

I am not clear why the reflection only happens in one direction

Consider a reflection off a curved surface, it could easily reproduce such an elongated reflection from a round source.

robert_g
Reply to  Greg
May 15, 2017 2:11 pm

This is a subsun. See Les Cowley’s Atmospheric Optics:
http://www.atoptics.co.uk/halo/subsun.htm
for an explanation.

Reply to  Greg
May 15, 2017 2:44 pm

Not bright enough to produce a flash imagd from a million miles away. Its not a laser, so the intensity will dissipate fairly rapidly.

Rocketscientist
Reply to  Greg
May 15, 2017 6:00 pm

robert g:
The site you cited (hope I got that right) appears to be the same phenomena as mentioned in the article. From deep space you’ll most likely see only horizontal particles. As the distance between observer and target approaches optical infinity the only reflection back to the observer will be from particles oriented perpendicular to the gravity vector (aka horizontal). Your site expertly demonstrates that the ice particles in cirrus clouds are indeed quite reflective. One might expect that they would reflect in a random directions without some underlying reason to cause them to cohesively align and not merely randomly tumble(my unproven hypothesis). However because the randomness will necessarily cause enough of them to be oriented (Gaussian distribution?) correctly for the observer to see some speculative return. Because we on earth are relatively close to these clouds we observe the occasional “halo” if it catches the sun just right. But the sun is shining on the other side of those clouds so we will only see what gets reflected down to us and we will also see partial refraction (icebows?).
I might expect that whatever portion of the energy that isn’t absorbed by the atmosphere gets glinted off into space. Lost to entropy forever.

joel
Reply to  Greg
May 15, 2017 6:49 pm

Could it be the wind? Are the ice particles asymmetric?

Rocketscientist
Reply to  Greg
May 15, 2017 7:10 pm

Maybe if fractured, but snow flakes are hexagonally disposed. Wind direction is potentially a reason. One might suspect the drag to align the flakes perpendicularly to the flow. Big updrafts?

robert_g
Reply to  Greg
May 15, 2017 8:12 pm

Rocketscientist,
I have some nice photos of a subsun and a subsun along with a faint left subparahelion (sundog) that I took on October 26, 2010 on a flight from Ireland to the U.S., but–frustratingly– I don’t know how to “paste” them here.
In any event, it seems to me that an observer from an airplane above the cirrus “sees” an effective “mirror” that occupies a rather small area compared to the “square miles of cirrus” that seem to be contributing to the glints seen in the DSCOVR images.
Perhaps the Ivanpah-like multiplication of “countless” mirrors help to overcome Ristvan’s concerns.

Sleepalot
Reply to  Greg
May 16, 2017 5:16 am

@ robert_g, re: images. One option is to make an Imgur* account, upload your photos there and then “paste” links to them in your messages here.
*Imgur is a photo-sharing-for-fun type site – but very left-wing.

Canisdirus
Reply to  Greg
May 16, 2017 5:53 am

The ice crystals are located several miles up and usually require cirrus cloud formations. I doubt you are flying above them.

Mickey Reno
Reply to  Greg
May 16, 2017 12:21 pm

Or perhaps a glint off one the the layers of your airplane window? These have faked many pilots into thinking theyve just seen a UFO.

Wfrumkin
Reply to  Greg
May 16, 2017 12:40 pm

Reflection off a satellite or space junk which is in orbit

Greg Goodman
Reply to  Greg
May 16, 2017 8:53 pm

@robert_g : open a wordpress account is a simple option. Upload your images there then post a link to the image location here. It would be very interesting to see your images.
ristvan May 15, 2017 at 2:44 pm

Not bright enough to produce a flash imagd from a million miles away. Its not a laser, so the intensity will dissipate fairly rapidly.

Not convinced. If that satellite can get clear images of the Earth, sea and land from that distance, it can get an image of the specular reflection. You see in my photos that the “subsun” is much brighter than the land below it. Hubble gets images of stars billions of light years away. They are not coherent laser light either.
Canisdirus May 16, 2017 at 5:53 am

The ice crystals are located several miles up and usually require cirrus cloud formations. I doubt you are flying above them.

The flight WAS “several miles up” as are most flights at cruise altitude. I posted local radiosonde data showing that ice forming conditions were present in a large range of height below the aircraft. They were lower than “usual” but that is what counts: what actually happened, not what “usually” happens.

May 15, 2017 10:58 am

Possibly a confirmation of Louis Frank’s small comet observations in the 1980s. http://smallcomets.physics.uiowa.edu/

Reply to  willybamboo
May 15, 2017 11:38 am

“It was tempting to simply remove the spots from the images and get on with the search for gravity waves. But you cannot alter data on a mere assumption. You have to have a reason. We needed to show that the spots were either detector noise, or produced by electronics on the spacecraft, or generated by computers on the ground. Only once that was accomplished could we eliminate the spots from the processed images and get on with our work”

Clearly nonsense written by a science-denier.

Reply to  tarran
May 15, 2017 1:55 pm

Nonsense Frank was not a science-denier – you are very ignorant about Louis Frank’s work. This is your chance to come up to speed. What is nonsense about this seeking an explanation for the observations?

Reply to  tarran
May 15, 2017 2:35 pm

Mr Bamboo,
I suggest you replace the batteries in your sarcasm detector. 😉

sophocles
Reply to  tarran
May 16, 2017 1:49 am

Nah, you’re all wrong.
it’s E.T. phoning home.
(Just a bit careless with the laser carrier.)

Pop Piasa
Reply to  willybamboo
May 15, 2017 12:48 pm

Could they be like instantaneous aurorae created by momentary magnetic reconnections in the atmosphere?
http://www.animationmagazine.net/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/scooby-doo-mystery-inc.jpg

Reply to  willybamboo
May 15, 2017 7:53 pm

Dirty snowballs.

Alan Robertson
May 15, 2017 11:05 am

Grade school art projects using old AOL install discs.

Robert
Reply to  Alan Robertson
May 15, 2017 1:05 pm

“using old AOL install discs”
“Brilliant.”

waterside4
Reply to  Robert
May 15, 2017 10:31 pm

You can not be cirrius

Reply to  Alan Robertson
May 15, 2017 1:11 pm

The gold recordable disks make a beautiful circular rainbow when in the sun, and the surface is angled into a dim area. Silver not so much. So pretty I made a mobile out of them.

Rocketscientist
Reply to  micro6500
May 15, 2017 7:42 pm

Hang them in them garden to keep the birds away.

Reply to  Rocketscientist
May 15, 2017 7:49 pm

Well the dryer vent maybe. But the rainbows were stunning!

May 15, 2017 11:07 am

It’s Earth doing Morse Code. It’s saying “I’m in charge you idiots”.

May 15, 2017 11:07 am

It was another skeptic being born,
… or an angel getting its wings.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
May 15, 2017 11:10 am

Robert….or a data set’s last burst of truth before being smothered by adjustments….

Tom Halla
May 15, 2017 11:12 am

GISS actually doing space-related earth science? Will wonders never cease!

May 15, 2017 11:16 am

So they are actually not ‘mysterious’ anymore since it’s been determined what the cause is. Perhaps the headline should read ‘Mystery of Flashes of Light from Earth Solved’.

Greg
Reply to  Kris Gilbert Tufts (@kg_tufts)
May 15, 2017 3:05 pm

Well, the explanation seems tentative at best. They say that this is reflection from horizontally oriented ice crystals but fail to explain why only horizontal ones reflect and how they know whether they are horizontal or not.

Reply to  Greg
May 15, 2017 5:53 pm

Exactly. We all can understand why water in a lake or the ocean is oriented horizontally but a mass of tiny ice crystals? By what mechanism?
On another note, I imagine the DoD probably has studied the problem already in a classified study. Wouldn’t this sort of thing look a little like an early warning rocket launch in infrared?

Rocketscientist
Reply to  Greg
May 15, 2017 6:06 pm

Greg, see my above comment on your earlier thread.

Stevan Reddish
Reply to  Greg
May 16, 2017 12:13 am

A tumbling crystal would reflect a sweeping beam which would create a tiny momentary flash to an observer who was viewing from the correct angle. Imagine a shiny coin spinning on a table while being lit by a bright light to the side. People sitting around the table looking at the coin would each see a bright blinking reflection of the lamp. The coin in this example has a vertical axis of rotation.
Long ago I flipped some pennies off of a high bridge. The rate of spinning increased as they fell and each penny produced a reflection of the sun which appeared to brighten as the rotation rate increased. They were easily visible for several seconds as they fell into a deep gorge. I could see the sun reflecting off the flat faces of the pennies as I looked down at them because the axis of rotation of each coin was horizontal and the sun was high.
Now imagine billions of flat ice crystals buoyed by an updraft. Each crystal would tumble around a horizontal axis, sweeping the overhead sky with a reflection of the sun.From a single viewpoint the glint from each crystal would be puny and brief. An observer far above would see a continuous combined glint of millions of crystals as long as the angle of view was right. Such a reflection could be seen from aircraft for many minutes. For a spacecraft in orbit the viewing angle would be correct for only a brief moment. In the video above each flash could be seen to grow to max brightness, then fade rapidly after a brief moment of peak brightness.
SR

Greg Goodman
Reply to  Greg
May 16, 2017 8:58 pm

A tumbling crystal would reflect a sweeping beam which would create a tiny momentary flash to an observer ….

And an adjacent crystal would also provide a momentary glint towards the observer from a different position. This normal, diffused reflection from cloud and give a white blanket not a clear specular reflection.

phaedo
May 15, 2017 11:17 am

It’s the sun glinting of Michael Mann’s head.

Reply to  phaedo
May 16, 2017 4:30 pm

Lol 😆 at least Mikey is doing his bit to boost albedo. Other climate warriors should follow his lead and shave their heads in climate solidarity. Every little helps!

BallBounces
May 15, 2017 11:18 am

So that was the problem. Once the climate models are adjusted for these ice flashes, they’ll be perfect!

May 15, 2017 11:19 am

I hear their cirrus explanation, but dont buy it. Cirrus is near transparent to sunlight so not a lot of reflection –especially from a plane to the satellite. And the ice crystals are sparse, which is why cirrus is whispy. And themcirrusmice crystals have a variety of spiky shapes and spiky clusters. Goodle images has some samples. And these irregular ice crystals have a random orientation, no different than the random sparkles in fresh cold snow. So could not produce a sensor flash of observed concentrated intensity.
There is, however upward lightning above tstorms (previous recent WUWT post) over both land and sea. And those should appear brightest when the bolt’s path was directly toward the sun and so the intervening sensor, simply because the sensor would ‘see’ the entire propagation full on.

Reply to  ristvan
May 15, 2017 11:43 am

“Them cirrus mice 🐭 ”
Can you expand on this – an intriguing suggestion that high altitude flying mice are holding mirrors to reflect light directly at satellites?

Reply to  ptolemy2
May 15, 2017 12:11 pm

Ptolemy2, don’t be silly. The type of mice that fly at such an alititude don’t have mirrors. However, they do have coats of silvery fur which, when wet or icy, has been shown to be quite reflective. Obviously this is the case, as the photos prove.

Reply to  ristvan
May 15, 2017 11:43 am

Shoild have added, there is a lot more lightning than being seen. Most would not satisfy their orientation test, and. Ould not be seen. But a dead on lightning bolt satisfies thenorientarion test while being brighter to the sensor than regular cloudtop lightning.

MarkW
Reply to  ristvan
May 15, 2017 11:53 am

If it was lightning, then the satellite would be able to see these flashes even when the satellite isn’t directly between the earth and the sun. From the article it appears that the flashes are seen only when the satellite is lined up between the earth and the sun.

Rocketscientist
Reply to  MarkW
May 15, 2017 7:46 pm

If these images are from cameras at L1 then the satellite is always between the sun and the earth.

Tim
Reply to  MarkW
May 15, 2017 10:27 pm

High altitude emp test. Lol. If we haven’t observed this in the past it lends to something recently man made.

MarkW
Reply to  ristvan
May 15, 2017 12:21 pm

Aren’t plasmas pretty much opaque to light? I remember reading that it takes the average photon something like a million years to go from the sun’s core to the photoshpere.

Duncan
Reply to  ristvan
May 15, 2017 12:39 pm

I don’t buy the ice crystal explanation either, too random. Could a temperature layer cause a reflection (bend light) much like a mirage?comment image

Reply to  Duncan
May 15, 2017 2:27 pm

As your mirage photo shows, only happens at very at low angle of incidence. This is dead on 90 degrees, earth centered.

Sleepalot
Reply to  ristvan
May 16, 2017 5:22 am

Could it be reflection off the solar panels of a low-altitude satelite (eg Iridium) passing beneath their satelite?

Ian W
May 15, 2017 11:19 am

That is hugely sensitive equipment capturing a single ice crystal. Indeed, if it was that bright it would be seen from the ground with the sun at low insolation angles. It isn’t. However, what is seen are glints and flashes from aircraft surfaces, these can be very bright.
May I suggest that it is far more likely for a remote satellite to see glints off aircraft surfaces than it is to see glints off single ice crystals . William of Occam and all that. There are aircraft over most land areas and many ocean areas continually.

I doubt whether a single ice crystal could even be identified by a glint 100 miles away let alone thousands. A glint of an aircraft wing however is very likely to be seen.

Jay Turberville
Reply to  Ian W
May 15, 2017 12:30 pm

Yes, the ice crystal explanation seems awfully weak to me given the apparent size of the flashes. Sure, glare in a lens can cause a bright spot to flare up and appear much larger than the source.
But a very bright light must reach the lens for that to happen. And given that this is an expensive Cassegrain (reflecting) telescope, I’d think that its refractive optics would have sophisticated, high-quality anti-reflective coatings that would make flares even less likely. But if the source is a direct reflection bright enough to cause flare, you might expect some indication of the signature diffration spikes from the telescope’s spider that mounts the secondary mirror. These spikes wouldn’t be as obvious as what we see in images of stars since we don’t have the deep dark background of a night sky, but you’d think the shape of the flare would be distorted by diffraction from the spider and we’d see that signature as a two, four or six sided pattern (depending on the number of spider tines) in the flare shape. But instead we see an asymmetric yellow blob. Which brings up another question – why is the flare’s color yellow? Wouldn’t a reflection bright enough to cause a flare that exaggerates it size be pretty much white? You would think that a direct reflection bright enough to cause a lens flare would also over-expose the sensor rather dramatically and be pure white.
I have no idea what these flares are. But the explanation given seems pretty weak. Maybe it is merely incomplete? But as it sits, planes seem about as good an explanation as do ice crystals – which isn’t to say that they seem like that good of an explanation either.

Reply to  Jay Turberville
May 15, 2017 1:17 pm

Wouldn’t a small comet (20 tons – house-size) disintegrating in the upper atmosphere provide enough ice crystals to reflect light with that specific signature? That is what they say they are observing, ice crystals.

Jay Turberville
Reply to  Jay Turberville
May 15, 2017 1:21 pm

Upon reflection (no pun) maybe the problem is with the use of the terms “sparkling”, “glints” and “flashes.” Are these “flashes” actually brighter than the surroundings? Given that they are yellow, and the clouds are white, it seems that they are actually darker. Calling them reflections may be misleading if they are actually transient areas of higher blue light absorption. Perhaps these are not really bright spots, but actually transient darker areas relative to the surrounding brighter clouds.

M Courtney
Reply to  Ian W
May 15, 2017 1:28 pm

Sounds good.
Are these glints on flightpaths?

Rocketscientist
Reply to  Ian W
May 15, 2017 7:49 pm

How about a whopping big cloud of ice crystals? Enough of them could be oriented sufficiently.

May 15, 2017 11:26 am

My guess is they are other satellites.

Mark from the Midwest
May 15, 2017 11:28 am

It’s just my Delorean when I forget to close the lid on the flux capacitor,

henryp
May 15, 2017 11:30 am

This is Trenberth’s missing energy??!!!

Mark - Helsinki
May 15, 2017 11:30 am

comment image
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desertec#/media
Solar power in north Africa? 😀

Robert
May 15, 2017 11:31 am

A MILLION miles away? 4 times as far away from Earth as the moon! Gotta kinda call bs on this as to why was it looking at Earth and not into deep space? Please.

Rocketscientist
Reply to  Anthony Watts
May 15, 2017 6:21 pm

Well “stablish” as it is a meta stable point and without going into the physics suffice it to say that it requires very little energy to “halo about the true point. The James West Space Telescope will be parked in L2 another metastable point beyond Earth’s orbit in line with the sun forever being “eclipsed” by the Earth. But we deploy a sun shield to block what gets by.
Yeah…these things are faaaar away. Any scientist can calculate a number but it takes an engineer to tell you how big a sh*tload that is. Nobody is going out to correct a screwed up lens. That’s why we only get one chance to build and test these things and why it takes so gosh darn long to accomplish.

TonyL
May 15, 2017 11:43 am

Sunlight glinting off clouds nearly started WWIII. Soviet satellites were looking for the hot, bright optical signature of rocket engines as a confirmation of launch. With US launches “confirmed”, retaliatory strikes were the standard order.
Luckily, more sceptical views prevailed, and it was soon realized that the bright, hot images of reflected sunlight were mimicking rocket motor signatures.

Charles A Hodge
May 15, 2017 11:50 am

The article provides a useless video that doesn’t show a single photo or direct evidence of a flash or “reflection.” So very typical for websites that refuse to employ actual journalists and human beings. What’s the point of the article if you don’t visually show what the topic or click-bait headline states?
More internet garbage unfortunately…

Luther Bl't
May 15, 2017 11:55 am

Pepe? Stop it and behave!

henryp
May 15, 2017 11:57 am
C Will
May 15, 2017 12:05 pm

No images, no artist impressions NASA is famous for?
Maybe we should use the “swamp gas” explanation, just as they use for Unidentified Flying Objects.

Editor
May 15, 2017 12:09 pm

To me they look like Iridium Flares, I have only ever seen two, but they are predictable on this website:
http://www.heavens-above.com/ The Iridium Satellites are communication satellites in a low polar orbit (485 miles altitude. Every so often their solar cells catch sunlight and direct it groundwards. They can be very bright Mag -8 (by comparison Venus at its brightest is Mag -4).

MarkW
Reply to  andrewmharding
May 15, 2017 12:18 pm

Couldn’t any satellite with solar panels produce the same flare if they were in the right place at the right time?

Clay Marley
Reply to  MarkW
May 15, 2017 1:43 pm

That was my first thought – reflections off solar panels on satellites. Those Iridium flares were surprisingly bright for the small size of the solar panels. They were oriented so they would reflect sunlight down of course, but possibly other satellites could reflect light up.

Steven Barger
Reply to  MarkW
May 15, 2017 6:04 pm

My thoughts exactly. In the same way that we can see the tiny light reflected from satellites above the Earth at night as they spin while orbiting the Earth, the vastness of space probably sees the same kind of “sparkle” magnified by several times without an atmosphere to block it. Satellites (space debris?) reflecting light from the Earth, Sun or Moon.

Rocketscientist
Reply to  MarkW
May 15, 2017 6:42 pm

They would have to be awfully big panels. The ISS (International Space Station) might return a speculative return, but those arrays are huge compared tho that of other systems. The solar arrays are for as much a practical oriented perpendicular to the sun so i would expect a majority of the energy gets reflected back at the sun. As expected these things get hot, so the back side of the arrays is as radiatively black as possible as that is where we place the radiators which are aligned perpendicular to the back side of the array because it would do us much good re-radiating back at the array. That being said you won’t get much reflection off the back side or a well designed array.
Now as satellites pass into shadow they will slew about their arrays to prepare them for “dawn”. Occasionally a terrestrial observer (I being one) will be tracking an satellite across the sky with the naked eye and see a bright flash as these armatures swivel and shine back at us as they prepare for the next cycle. But these glints are small and extremely transient and doubtfully observable from any device that requires any exposure time to capture enough light.

AKSurveyor
Reply to  andrewmharding
May 15, 2017 1:10 pm

The flares are really cool to track, I have seen dozens of them but have not ever been in the full path of the reflection on the ground. Fun to track and show to your friends though. 🙂
This is about the best explanation so far.

May 15, 2017 12:19 pm

… sun reflecting off a mobile phone, as a science marcher snaps a selfie.
… sun reflecting off a gold tooth, as someone gasps for air, laughing so hard at science marchers.
… the rare methane fart igniting.
And, of course, … another UFO denied by NASA.
That’s all I got. Time to get serious again.

May 15, 2017 12:26 pm

Korean atom bomb tests?

Bedlam Escapee
May 15, 2017 12:42 pm

Sun Dogs. Woof! Try monitoring full spectrum audio too. Infra to Ultra, you can hear them bark. Woof!

Joe Strummer
May 15, 2017 12:45 pm

Space Junk???

M Courtney
Reply to  Joe Strummer
May 15, 2017 2:25 pm

A valid hypothesis.

Lanmal
May 15, 2017 12:53 pm

Earth is gradually tuening into a star

Bryan
May 15, 2017 12:55 pm

Aluminum, barium, and strontium

May 15, 2017 1:09 pm

Sunlight reflecting off of Algore’s ill-gotten pile of treasure?

May 15, 2017 1:10 pm

There are small comets entering the earth’s atmosphere continually. They first were observed by Professor Louis Frank, University of Iowa, Space Physics, in 1981 using imaging equipment one the Dynamics Explorer Satellite. The small comet observations are so disruptive to so much settled science Frank’s observations have universally been panned as impossible. But they have never been refuted. Evidently the earth and probably all the planets travel through a flux of small comets. Huge amounts of water have been recently discovered on Pluto. There shouldn’t be water ice in vast quantities on Pluto’s surface. But there it is.

lewispbuckingham
Reply to  willybamboo
May 15, 2017 2:11 pm

Just wondering if small comets with CO2 on board could be causing some of the CO2 atmospheric rise that is observed?

Chimp
Reply to  willybamboo
May 15, 2017 1:43 pm

I have no objection to small comets, but why shouldn’t water ice on Pluto’s surface be there? The New Horizons spacecraft found more than had been expected, not because water ice isn’t common in the Kuiber Belt and beyond, but because on Pluto it’s “bedrock” covered by other ices which hide it.
https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/pluto-s-widespread-water-ice
Comets from the theoretical Oort Cloud, a thousand times or more farther away than the Kuiber Belt, contain water ice.

Reply to  Chimp
May 15, 2017 1:50 pm

I understood the size of Pluto precluded it from having an ancient reservoir of water. Like the moon it should be gone if it was ever there. If it is there, it can’t have been there from the beginning, it must be recent.

Neo
May 15, 2017 1:17 pm

What was interesting to me was the apparent chromatic aberration manifested with the color separation of the flashes.
Is this a camera defect or an atmospheric lensing effect ?

Jay Turberville
Reply to  Neo
May 15, 2017 1:46 pm

The first image shown in the video was so radically different than the still posted, that I assumed it was an illustration and not an actual photo. But if is a legit photo, that would be a rather severe lens inter-reflection. That example also shows what I was expecting from the still image – diffraction spikes. This would be a super-bright reflection, and not a dull spot in order to created diffraction spikes that are so prominent against the background. If this first image is legit, it means the secondary mirror spider probably has two tines suspending it. (It could be one tine, but I’m assuming two because the spikes are so clear and prominent.)
Given that the primary optics in this telescope are mirrors, I’d be shocked if those are from chromatic abberation. That would be some pretty nasty chromatic abberation for a reflecting scope. Instead, I would think that the blue flare at least is an inter-reflections from lens elements and has the different color due to the nature of the anti-reflection coatings on some particular lens element. Maybe the slight red edge to the yellow spike is chromatic abberation. But having that much CA from the center of a mirror optic would really surprise me. I’ve shot a lot of photos using a 1000mm f/10 Russian mirror lens and have never seen CA from sun reflections ever close to that bad. And I have to figure my optics are inferior to NASA’s.

May 15, 2017 1:28 pm

Was the word “Climate” inserted in this program
A) so that it could be named with a really cool acronym,
B) because it’s the only way to get funding for anything,
C) since we’re off to find catastrophic climate change from SUV’s on other planets, or
D) because the probe is looking for a replacement planet with the perfect climate, now that we’ve trashed this one?
One million miles and counting seems to support the “deep space” mission, but heading toward the sun seems like a strange way to study the Earth’s climate.

Greg
Reply to  John DeFayette
May 15, 2017 3:25 pm

Who said “and counting”. It is in stable position at a Lagrange point: L1.

PiperPaul
May 15, 2017 1:30 pm

Could it be birds being vaporized in a flash of light from solar power towers?

Ron Williams
May 15, 2017 1:31 pm

I would think that lightning’s strange relatives, Sprites, Elves, and Blue Jets may be possibly responsible.
Upper-atmospheric lightning or ionospheric lightning are terms sometimes used by researchers to refer to a family of short-lived electrical-breakdown phenomena that occur well above the altitudes of normal lightning and storm clouds. Upper-atmospheric lightning is believed to be electrically induced forms of luminous plasma. The preferred usage is transient luminous event (TLE), because the various types of electrical-discharge phenomena in the upper atmosphere lack several characteristics of the more familiar tropospheric lightning. Their cause is similar to that of sprites, occurring in response to a large, intense lightning strike in a thunderstorm below. The electromagnetic discharge rises up from the storm and spreads out like a ripple from a pebble, near the transition between the stratosphere and the ionosphere.
I remember seeing these before they were formerly named/discovered 25-30 years ago from the perspective of earth. On a clear cloudless night for hundreds of miles around, on a moonless night sometimes one would see flashes of light out of the corner of the eye well over the horizon hundreds of miles away. These intense energy bursts were connecting massive thunderclouds 300+ miles away to significant energy sources in what appears to be the upper stratosphere to the ionosphere They suggest that some of the energy in hyperactive thunderclouds originate and is derived from the ionosphere. Perhaps when the camera on the spacecraft and the source flash are in near perfect alignment, the photo capture is enhanced with the flash of light dead on. I am not sure the jury is in yet on all the details of this recently discovered electrical activity, but would be in the right department for this observation. Just my 2 cents worth…
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upper-atmospheric_lightning (I condensed part of the article above)

Bill Yarber
May 15, 2017 1:38 pm

The flash in this picture is over the large Venezuelan lake where they have the huge frequent thunder storms. Maybe the answer is as simple as lighting high up in the atmosphere?

Steve Fraser
May 15, 2017 1:43 pm

‘Sundogs from Space’

Seve
May 15, 2017 1:48 pm

All we have to do is look for other planets that reflect these flashes back into space and presto, a habitable planet just like ours. The similarities would be too good to be true. Just need to shoot a couple hundred thousand more Galileo spacecraft out to locate.

Steve Fraser
May 15, 2017 1:55 pm

Ok, more seriously, I’d go with the airplane wing reflection, especially since the altitude also works. I see them from the ground occasionally as planes peel out of DFW when the sun is low. The effect is startling, since the reflection is almost as bright as the sun, and visibly moving. Depending on the angles involved, can last 10-15 seconds.

Rocketscientist
Reply to  Steve Fraser
May 15, 2017 8:02 pm

I’m not buying aircraft reflections. The wings largest of the surfaces are not flat but convex so they diffuse not concentrate. As is the fuselage. For a plane to yield the kind of flash you see from them they need to be flying between you and the setting sun and be higher in the sky so you see the reflection off the bottom of the wings. While the underside is relatively flat-ish, planes at least commercial ones rarely fly upside down (at least never more than once).

May 15, 2017 1:58 pm

Somebody using an old Polaroid camera.

J
May 15, 2017 1:59 pm

Could this be those gamma ray flashes that have been reported from intense thunder storms?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrestrial_gamma-ray_flash
The gammas could ionize air molecules and emit visible light from plasma.

Gary Pearse
May 15, 2017 2:10 pm

With billions of crystals randomly oriented of course there are sufficient at the right orientation for catching a reflection. Same principle in Xray Diffraction of ground up mineral particles to measure crystal cell dimensions for identification of minerals.
Three quarters of a lifetime ago I wondered if the random orientation of fine mineral crystal faces or cleavage faces in moon dust might show a faint reflection of the earth. Perhaps an image of earth could be teased out of earth shine on the moon. Or an image of the sun from the quarter moon position.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Gary Pearse
May 15, 2017 2:50 pm

Sun dogs are of similar origin. Also, a field of grass beaded with dew returns a halo with the sun behind you with the shadow of your head at the centre. In some of the several cases in these two posts you have refraction or reflection (Diffraction in the XRD case).

May 15, 2017 2:18 pm

In the mid-1960s, I was stationed in the Air Force at Glasgow AFB, Montana. In mid -winter we would experience ice crystals, where water in the air would sublimate directly into ice crystals, and settle slowly. Ice crystals would be most typical in clear skies with below-Zero F temperatures.
While driving at night, you could see the lights of another vehicle refracted straight up, almost like a vertically directed searchlight, visible from miles away, and rapidly changing direction when the road was curvy. My hypothesis was that the ice crystals were oriented so that the light from headlights was directed vertically, and if seen from above, likely to be as a bright light source below.
This image, http://oddstuffmagazine.com/wonderful-weather-pictures-with-lightning-snow-and-ice-20-pics.html/weather-14 shows an example of this phenomenon.
When this is observed in daylight, the term is “diamond dust.”
Since cirrus clouds are composed of ice crystals, perhaps this phenomenon is related to that which I observed in winter in Montana over 50 years ago.
ROBERT W. ENDLICH

Greg
Reply to  bendlich2014
May 15, 2017 3:36 pm

I’m still having difficultly understanding how this could be so directional but “diamond dust” was suggested to me by Judith Curry as reason for this strange direct reflection I saw whilst flying over southern England last year:comment image
https://climategrog.wordpress.com/cloud_reflection_strong_173/
Can you help explain why light is only sent in one direction? That is the key ‘mystery’ here.

Greg
Reply to  Greg
May 15, 2017 3:40 pm

comment image
BTW the flihgt was at about 18000ft ( circa 6km ) at the time of the photo. Radiosonde data at mid-day from the nearest reporting station shows ice forming conditions between 2km and 6km altitude.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Greg
May 15, 2017 4:26 pm

Greg, it isn’t just in one direction. Another observers a km away from you would see the same thing except it would be different light rays bouncing off slightly differently oriented crystals. You are getting your own personal image. Cool huh?

ralfellis
Reply to  Greg
May 16, 2017 4:02 am

Ice crystals can act like the droplets that form a rainbow. Water droplets have a reflection-refraction angle of 40º. No doubt ice crystals have a similar set reflection-refraction angle.
The water droplet reflection-refraction angle.comment image

Reply to  Greg
May 17, 2017 8:02 am

I would say it’s ‘backscatter’ from cirrus clouds (those crystals are linear), you’d only see it when the sun is behind the satellite. Depending on the size of the particles relative to the wavelength the angle that it can be seem from will be quite tight. It seems likely that it’s the same sort of crystals that cause ‘sun dogs’, you see the ‘sun dogs’ when you look towards the sun, when you have the sun at your back you’d see the backscatter.

Reply to  bendlich2014
May 15, 2017 4:14 pm

The image of the vertical refraction of the lights at night from Nebraska
http://oddstuffmagazine.com/wonderful-weather-pictures-with-lightning-snow-and-ice-20-pics.html/weather-14
shows this phenomenon. Near the center bottom there appears to be white auto headlights showing strong vertical refraction. Some of the streetlights show the vertical refraction, but the streetlight with the reflector does not.
I hope this helps.
ROBERT W. ENDLICH

Spunkstein
May 15, 2017 2:30 pm

I dont know but im sure it is apocalyptic and only Democrats can save us.

Steve Kasian
May 15, 2017 3:17 pm

They need to start investigating what causes the flashes of light during earthquakes; They appear for miles around the epicenter of quakes, and nobody has any idea what causes them. This is far more important than reflections of sun off of ice crystals in the atmosphere:
[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Apa_Mh2Rw28&w=640&h=390]

Keith J
May 15, 2017 3:25 pm

Noctilucent clouds? These are mesospheric water.

Reply to  Keith J
May 16, 2017 2:27 am

Water in the mesosphere is more likely to arrive there from outside the atmosphere.

Steve Kasian
Reply to  willybamboo
May 16, 2017 4:57 am

Exectly: Scientists have found, through extensive study, that the primary source of water in the mesosphere is meteors.

Reply to  willybamboo
May 16, 2017 9:24 am

Maybe the primary source of water in the mesosphere is a flux of small comets the earth is constantly passing through as it orbits the sun. I am excited to think these new EPIC camera images are a confirmation of what Prof. Louis Frank observed over thirty years ago using the DISCOVERY’s cameras.

Sovereignty_Soldier
May 15, 2017 3:28 pm

I believe and trust NASA about as much as I believe and Trust Obama!
Show me some more CGI please.

Greg
Reply to  Sovereignty_Soldier
May 15, 2017 5:33 pm

I don’t work for NASA and I can’t do CGI but I can give you another photo of specular reflection from low, ice cloud.comment image

May 15, 2017 3:36 pm

Ohh, sorry. I’m glad I was wrong about you!

cba
May 15, 2017 3:56 pm

when it comes to scattering, the light likes to intensify towards the 180 degree direction. Sometimes called cloud glory.

DrKarlStalin
May 15, 2017 4:13 pm

That was a UFO, beamin’ back at ya. Me and Eric Heisman was down in Mexico two weeks ago and we seen forty of ’em flying in formation. They’ve got bases all over the world now, you know. They’ve been coming here ever since nineteen forty-six – when the scientists first started bouncin’ radar beams off of the moon. And they have been livin’ and workin’ among us in vast quantities ever since. The government knows all about ’em. They are people, just like us – from within our own solar system. Except that their society is more highly evolved. I mean, they don’t have no wars, they got no monetary system, they don’t have any leaders, because, I mean, each man is a leader. I mean, each man – because of their technology, they are able to feed, clothe, house, and transport themselves equally – and with no effort…They don’t reveal themselves to us is because if they did it would cause a general panic. Now, I mean, we still have leaders upon whom we rely for the release of this information. These leaders have decided to repress this information because of the tremendous shock that it would cause to our antiquated systems. Now, the result of this has been that the Venutians have contacted people in all walks of life. Yes. It would be a devastatin’ blow to our antiquated systems – so now the Venutians are meeting with people in all walks of life – in an advisory capacity. For once man will have a god-like control over his own destiny. He will have a chance to transcend and to evolve with some equality for all.

henryp
Reply to  Anthony Watts
May 16, 2017 11:11 am

it’s definitely funny….

May 15, 2017 4:22 pm

Kids playing with laser flashlights….

JohnKnight
May 15, 2017 4:29 pm

Well, someone has posted comments a few times on this site, regarding the hypothetical potential for water droplets to act as directionally focused mirrors . . ’cause I “discovered” some time ago that they put tiny glass beads in the paint they use for highway lines, since at tiny sizes surface tension ought to dominate so as to form spheres . . Just sayin’ ; )

Greg Goodman
Reply to  JohnKnight
May 15, 2017 5:40 pm

Spherical droplets would lead to diffuse reflection and extensive bright white reflections like we see in normal cloud.
To get specular reflection would require very tight alignment of flat reflective crystals. This seems pretty improbable but having taken images of such specular reflection of the sum myself and watched it for about an hour, I have to conclude that something like this does happen. I would like an explanation of a possible mechanism.

JohnKnight
Reply to  JohnKnight
May 15, 2017 7:08 pm

“Spherical droplets would lead to diffuse reflection and extensive bright white reflections like we see in normal cloud.”
Then why do they put little spheres in paint to make it reflective? (They really do, and I still have some . . they shine back at the light source . . )
Now, those flashes are not the sort of effect I would expect to see from what I’m talking about, but rather more diffuse mist looking stuff, sorta like phantom clouds that would not be visible from other perspectives, (and would be a part of cloud reflection).

JohnKnight
Reply to  JohnKnight
May 15, 2017 9:45 pm

“To get specular reflection would require very tight alignment of flat reflective crystals.”
I gotta think magnetic field/polar water molecules . . as a starting point . .

Greg Goodman
Reply to  JohnKnight
May 15, 2017 11:56 pm

Spheres will reflect back towards the source, and in many other directions. If you covered a large area, you would get a diffused reflection, not a clear image of the car headlights. If you stood at the side of the road as a car went past, you would also see reflected light. It is not the same as the specular reflection we are trying to explain here.
Polarisation, yes. I was thinking maybe electrical since it would not be hard to find conditions with a strong electrical field. maybe impacting UV induces a charge on one side of the ice “platelettes” suggested in the paper. Or maybe causes a very thin layer of liquid water on the surface.
In view of roundness of the images I took, this must be happening at a very specific height, not through out the cloud, other wise the reflected image would be diffuse in the vertical direction. My images only show very slight elongation.
I’m guessing that this is happening at the upper limit of the zone where freezing conditions occur. Radiosounde data closest to my observation indicated several kilometer deep zone where this ice cloud would be forming. yet the images does not blur.
http://weather.uwyo.edu/cgi-bin/sounding?region=europe&TYPE=TEXT%3ALIST&YEAR=2016&MONTH=11&FROM=0312&TO=0500&STNM=03808&ICE=1&REPLOT=1

Stevan Reddish
Reply to  JohnKnight
May 16, 2017 9:15 am

Greg. a repost of my reply to your 1st post way upthread.:
A tumbling crystal would reflect a sweeping beam which would create a tiny momentary flash to an observer who was viewing from the correct angle. Imagine a shiny coin spinning on a table while being lit by a bright light to the side. People sitting around the table looking at the coin would each see a bright blinking reflection of the lamp. The coin in this example has a vertical axis of rotation.
Long ago I flipped some pennies off of a high bridge. The rate of spinning increased as they fell and each penny produced a reflection of the sun which appeared to brighten as the rotation rate increased. They were easily visible for several seconds as they fell into a deep gorge. I could see the sun reflecting off the flat faces of the pennies as I looked down at them because the axis of rotation of each coin was horizontal and the sun was high.
Now imagine billions of flat ice crystals buoyed by an updraft. Each crystal would tumble around a horizontal axis, sweeping the overhead sky with a reflection of the sun.From a single viewpoint the glint from each crystal would be puny and brief. An observer far above would see a continuous combined glint of millions of crystals as long as the angle of view was right. Such a reflection could be seen from aircraft for many minutes. For a spacecraft in orbit the viewing angle would be correct for only a brief moment. In the video above each flash could be seen to grow to max brightness, then fade rapidly after a brief moment of peak brightness.
in re your point in this post that the image would be stretched out if the reflections involved a cloud of particles: Yes, when viewed from any angle less than directly overhead with the sun behind the camera.
SR

Martin457
May 15, 2017 4:53 pm

I wouldn’t mind seeing what this satellite sees in August when the solar eclipse happens.

May 15, 2017 5:33 pm

Putin AGAIN !!!

marie joy
May 15, 2017 5:33 pm

It’s the Russians.

May 15, 2017 5:41 pm

I would venture a comment based on the responses to my recent (thanks AW) guest post on Salby plus those comments here.
There seem to be four types of WUWT commenters:
1. Warmunists who will deny contrary evidence at all costs, thereby digging themselves into deep holes they do not even recognize. Mann blocking Scott Adams is a very recent example.
2. Trolls who just muck things up with straw men and ad homs. They may not even be warmunists, just apparently deranged.
3. True skeptics, who debate, contribute, learn, and progess despite admittedly imperfect knowledge. This post is an excellent example of mostly type 3. Telescope experts, cloud exerts, logic experts, all wrestling with explanations to an observed phenomenon.
4. True D*****s, exemplified by a very few on my very recent Salby theory post.
Lets hope WUWT attracts a preponderance of type 3s. Is what brings me back here so often.

Mike Hawkslarge
May 15, 2017 5:50 pm

Please accept my apology – just me testing my new, dietary maximized blue-flame technology 🙂

May 15, 2017 6:15 pm

It was me.

Loren
May 15, 2017 6:35 pm

I was amazed to see a real spacecraft with real people in it the thing is not from around here from earth they had a emblem on there uniforms it went over my trailer several years back it was a telephone pole high no noise no sound when went over charcoal black .im even willing to take a lie detector test to prove to the world the truth what I seen

lil ronnie
May 15, 2017 6:36 pm

sorry, did not mean to cause so much uproar, it was my sunglasses reflecting as I lay with my back down, on the yacht.

May 15, 2017 6:41 pm

How soon will Al Gore be calling for a ban or tax on horizontal Ice crystals in the upper atmosphere?

PeterD
May 15, 2017 7:39 pm

Why are the signals all toward Alpha Centauri?
They’ve been watching us.
And now they’re coming.

coaldust
May 15, 2017 7:43 pm

I wonder if they considered the possibility the flashes came from that little light on top of the TARDIS?

Richard M
May 15, 2017 7:43 pm

There could be multiple sources. Clearly, a lake on cloudless and calm day would reflect a lot of light. Ice crystals in the sky are similar. However, I think the size of the object would need to be very large to show up at a million miles.

Don K
Reply to  Richard M
May 16, 2017 1:31 am

“However, I think the size of the object would need to be very large to show up at a million miles”.
Exactly. I’m not much good at this sort of thing, but my GUESS is that with no focusing, the scale of the reflecting “surface” has to be on the order of the diameter of the sun (864,000 miles) times the distance from the observer to the reflecting “surface” (1,000,000 miles) divided by the length of the path from the sun to the observer (93,000,000 miles + 1,000,000 miles). That works out to 919 miles.
In the unlikely event that I have the geometry right, that pretty much rules out lots of things like airplane wings that produce flashes if the observer is only a few tens of miles from the reflector. It also rules out single ice crystals of course. But a large region of similarly oriented ice crystals might work.

Robert of Texas
May 15, 2017 8:51 pm

Did you notice? All of the reports of flashes from Earth started occurring after the 1960’s! This correlates well with Man-made CO2. Obviously CO2 crystals are causing the flashes, as the frozen CO2 warms up to incredibly high temperatures caused by global warming… This accounts perfectly for the “pause” which was actually frozen CO2 crystal plasma directing global warming at other innocent planets!
I am going to start my PhD thesis on this and get a degree in Climate Science.
But sarcasm aside, its kind of cool that Earth sparkles.

May 15, 2017 9:00 pm

It’s clear that this is visual evidence of the military’s manipulation of the the Ionosphere with one of the various HAARP arrays. All of this other nonsense is simply part of the cover-up.

Greg Goodman
Reply to  Soqueesh_Mulhatra
May 16, 2017 12:07 am

No it isn’t clear proof of anything. If you think it is, you are willing to see “proof” of your preconceived beliefs in anything that is unexplained. This is the same mental process which leads to AGW hysteria.

May 15, 2017 9:17 pm

Ristvan leaves out one group of commenters – those happy to spot some irregularity and make a joke of it. DrKarlStalin May 15, 2017 at 4:13 pm is a prize example – and of course there are the pedants!
However, way back in the 60s (IIRC) bright flashes in the South Atlantic were interpreted as being from South African atomic bomb tests. Wonder what happened to that theory? South Africa’s nuclear arsenal seems to have gone the same way as Israel’s nuclear arsenal and the dreaded WMD in Iraq.

Don K
Reply to  dudleyhorscroft
May 16, 2017 1:39 am

IIRC, South Africa (probably) destroyed their nuclear weapons in the early 1990s. Israel doesn’t admit to having nuclear weapons but is thought to have developed them in the 1960s and to have 80-400 of them. See Wikipedia.

Douglas Kubler
May 15, 2017 9:23 pm

NASA says “spots where the angle between the sun and Earth is the same as the angle between the spacecraft and Earth.” Where is the vertex for the angles? A pair of points doesn’t make an angle.

Greg Goodman
Reply to  Douglas Kubler
May 16, 2017 12:11 am

Technically you are correct, it poorly written. The missing info is the local horizontal plane of the postulated flat horizontal crystals.

May 15, 2017 9:32 pm

Yeah, horizontal ice crystals — sure.
Have you seen my 120-acre marine mirrors?

Greg Goodman
Reply to  Vox Veritas
May 16, 2017 12:15 am

It does sound improbable and my original reaction would be the same. But now look at the images I posted above of similar reflections from ice cloud taken from a commercial flight over England.
Unlikely as it seems there is something creating a specular reflected image of the sun. One possible explanation would be well oriented flat ice crystals.
As Sherlock Holmes said: once you have eliminated all possible explanations, all that remains are the impossible ones.

Greg Goodman
Reply to  Greg Goodman
May 16, 2017 12:17 am

Maybe you can suggest another cause for my observations.

Greg Goodman
Reply to  Greg Goodman
May 16, 2017 12:27 am

robert_g May 15, 2017 at 2:11 pm

This is a subsun. See Les Cowley’s Atmospheric Optics:
http://www.atoptics.co.uk/halo/subsun.htm
for an explanation.

“Because flat ice” ?!
Unfortunately that does not explain anything since it does not account for the improbable situation where all the crystals are closely aligned. This is typical scientific smart-arsery where they claim everything is understood but the “don’t fully understand” what is happening.
Giving something a name like sub-sun does not mean you have explained the phenomenon.
In fact this is the same problem as the NASA article. They claim it is flat ice but do not say why that ice is aligned. This is highly unlikely and needs explanation and proof that it even happens ( beyond citing the thing you are trying to explain as “proof” that it happens).

Daigoro
May 15, 2017 10:52 pm

This is obviously just Goku powering up, duh.

alanz
May 15, 2017 11:25 pm

it looks interesting

Rodger copy
May 15, 2017 11:47 pm

Space trash. Planet ghetto

Supercollider
May 15, 2017 11:50 pm

T H A N K S
F O R
T H E
F I S H

HocusLocus
May 16, 2017 1:17 am

From the Caribbean island of St. Thomas, 16N latitude one day, late afternoon… a cyclonic grey raincloud mass all around us that blocked the sky to the horizon… EXCEPT for a clear large semicircular center directly overhead, which we call a “sleepy hurricane”… and through it was revealed a Noctilucent layer so still with sun angle so precisely prismatic… that there were brightly vivid irregularly shaped patches every color of the rainbow. For 5-10 minutes, all of the illumination around us came from that rainbow. People literally pulled their automobiles off the road to get out, to gaze in wonder. There were tears in peoples’ eyes.
Now THAT was no brief reflective flash of coherent light from a fast-moving vantage point in space. To see this show, you have to be along for the ride.

Noel Constable
May 16, 2017 1:43 am

Did any one of the scientists bother to correlate flight paths of shiny aeroplanes at the time of these images? Big bird lots of reflection area, satellites going over at night reflect the sunlight on iridium panels as a flash when they turn to reflect sunlight. Planes upper wings and fuselage are much bigger panels that also reflect in daylight skies. Ice crystals are much smaller.

George Lawson
May 16, 2017 2:42 am

It must be a mighty big flash when picked up by a camera a million miles away. The light source shown by the dot on the picture must be huge if one relates the size of the light dot to the size of the earth shown in the picture – 2mm to a 160mm earth. This puts the width of the beam 1/80th of the diameter of the earth. Making the source circa 100 miles across.
If the ‘flash’ is indeed a reflection of the sun then it would be an extremely brief flash due to the earths rotation as the million mile beam would cross the camera lens in milliseconds. Logic therefore suggests that it is something like an area of sea or water that creates a solar reflection that could be in existence at all times when the sun gets through, but would reflect to the cameras lens only very, very occasionally. when the beams direction coincides with the crossing of the beam by the camera..

Matt Simpson
May 16, 2017 3:45 am

New budget, new disinfo, to prop up a failing institution. Our program is way behind and tell me how can Humans pass thru van allen belt to get to moon
[??? .mod]

ralfellis
May 16, 2017 3:58 am

Yes, small ice crystals (known as diamond dust) can become orientated, presumably because of their long rhomboid shape and the airflow they are situated in. And then they can reflect or refract light in a particular direction.
Take a look at this image, where diamond-dust is refracting streetlight in specific directions, to form tall pillars of light.
http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2017/01/13/11/3C04491300000578-4116808-image-a-12_1484307443022.jpg

Sleepalot
Reply to  ralfellis
May 16, 2017 5:47 am

Static charge would also align ice crystals.

Reply to  Sleepalot
May 16, 2017 7:58 am

Now we’re getting somewhere. We need to know what polarizes the ice crystals.
[The usual. Politics, racism, global warming, religion, sexism, ageism, poverty, George Soros. …. .mod]

Greg Goodman
Reply to  Sleepalot
May 16, 2017 8:58 am

interesting photo , similar to others provided, but I question your interpretation of light being refracted into vertical beams. What you are assuming is that there is a vertical beam from which some light is being scattered back to the ground.
The source of light is at ground level, behind the trees. The observer is at ground level and some of the light, presumably radiating in all directions from the alleged street lights is being refracted or scattered back down to the ground based observer.
What I suspect we would see, if lamps were raise well above the ground, is a cross of light beams going symmetrically left/right ; up / down. The typical ‘star’ often seen in photos or films of bright lights.

Reply to  Greg Goodman
May 16, 2017 9:14 am

The typical ‘star’ often seen in photos

These are from the support structure inside the telescope they’re called diffraction spikes.
From Wiki

In the vast majority of reflecting telescope designs, the secondary mirror has to be positioned at the central axis of the telescope and so has to be held by struts within the telescopes tube. No matter how fine these support rods are they diffract the incoming light from a subject star and this appears as diffraction spikes which are the Fourier transform of the support struts. The spikes represent a loss of light that could have been used to image the star.[1][2]

ralfellis
Reply to  Sleepalot
May 16, 2017 11:17 am

>>What you are assuming is that there is a vertical beam from
>>which some light is being scattered back to the ground.
Not assuming that at all. These are omni-directional surface light sources, from which only ice crystals in a certain location-orientation to the observer are refracting-reflecting the light.
It is like a vertical rainbow. A rainbow will only be seen in specific locations of the sky, and not in others. Only difference is the rainbow forms a curve while this phenomina forms a vertical line.
R

Greg Goodman
Reply to  Sleepalot
May 16, 2017 9:45 pm

Not the only difference. Another one is there is no obvious spectral diffusion here. It’s nothing like a vertical rainbow.
I agree that it is to do with the relative position of the observer. That was my point. I see no evidence from the photos nor the recollection from air force base in 1960s that there actually is a vertical column of light. There are no accounts of this being seen from the air. It seems to depend upon the position of a ground based observer. ie there is no vertical column of light. Just like you cannot fly around a rainbow: it is a virtual image, only visible from a limited range of observational positions.
It does seem to indicate a degree of orientation since it is not a haze like that which would be seen in foggy conditions.
I think this is consistent with long horizontally aligned crystals, randomly oriented in the other two axes, or horizontal plates ( which implies two axes being constrained ).
My observations would seem to require uniformly oriented plates, as suggested for the NASA glints.
If this is plates in the “beam” photos we are seeing an image of the light source which is diffuse in one direction only due to a continuum of heights containing reflecting particles. As I stated earlier about my observation, there is only very limited vertical spreading, indicating that only a very thin ( top? ) layer of the cloud is involved.
This suggests a boundary condition phenomenon between the zone of low altitude freezing conditions and higher warmer, non freezing conditions, as shown in the radiosonde data that I linked to.
Thanks for your comment, helped me firm up my ideas.

Greg Goodman
Reply to  Sleepalot
May 16, 2017 9:54 pm

Bottom line: this is not a vertical column of light : it will not be seen to illuminate an object put in its path, like flying a zeppelin over the area and expecting to see circles on light on it.
It is a reflection of the street lamp object which is diffused in one direction only as seen from the ground. If there were a non freezing zone at ground level the “beams” would appear to start in mid-air.

Greg
Reply to  Sleepalot
May 16, 2017 10:34 pm

Ah, I made a prediction and I have found confirmation:
http://oddstuffmagazine.com/wonderful-weather-pictures-with-lightning-snow-and-ice-20-pics.html/weather-14
Note the “beam” above the group of four trees at the bottom, right of the image. Beam very weak low down , almost disappearing, stronger higher up. This is a vertically diffused reflection ( linear blur) of the lamp.
It remains to explain the mechansim which is orienting the ice crystals.

Reply to  Greg
May 17, 2017 3:10 am

It remains to explain the mechansim which is orienting the ice crystals

I’m not sure you have to, you have trillions of ice crystals in random orientation, some percentage will always be the proper angle to your location. What limits the viewing angle of this effect, is the angle of the sun, and the observer from each other. A suggestion of a reason, the angle of the crystals would not matter.

Reply to  Sleepalot
May 17, 2017 5:30 am

Greg, Hypothetically, what sort of a reflective light flash would a small, disintegrating, comet produce as it entered the mesosphere? Wouldn’t it be similar to what is being imaged by the EPIC devices aboard the DSCOVR spacecraft?

Hocus Locus
Reply to  Sleepalot
May 17, 2017 12:24 pm

Now we’re getting somewhere. We need to know what polarizes the ice crystals.

TRUMP 2016

Scott
Reply to  ralfellis
May 17, 2017 5:03 am

If point sources of light look like that, then why wouldn’t escaping long wave radiation also look like that? Randomly orientated ice crystals for the streetlight example, randomly emitting water vapor and other such gasses in the second example. If you measured light intensity on a non icy night, then measured it on an icy night, would the “downwelling” light be what one would expect?

Gysela
May 16, 2017 4:27 am

They say we are entering an Ice age. Maybe, there is an increase in ice particles in our atmosphere because the earth is cooling?

May 16, 2017 5:12 am

Meteors entering Earth’s atmosphere. There, I said it.

May 16, 2017 5:16 am

Stop printing lies. Ain’t no curvature on the earth. Fake pic . You guys should know better by now.

Jack Springer
May 16, 2017 5:23 am

I don’t really think light reflecting off ice in the atmosphere is all that mysterious.

May 16, 2017 5:38 am

None of this is true. It is 100% fiction. A “fluff piece”, created from thin air. That is not a video of earth. Notice that ALL images from NASA depict a PERFECTLY SPHERICAL planet. Every time. Yet NASA constantly states earth is obloid, or “pear-shaped (Tyson). The earth is not a sphere. The images are CGI, and there are ZERO “space satellites” over 400 miles from earth. The VAN ALLEN radiation belts will destroy the electronics of anything that goes beyond 700 miles of so from earth. NASA is in the same business that Disney is in: selling fantasy to the gullible for money.
[??? .mod]

Greg Goodman
Reply to  JerryWDavis (@TruthToMan)
May 16, 2017 9:02 am

Jeez. Check out just how oblate the Earth ( allegedly ) is and then post back with whether you would expect to see it with the naked eye on that image.
You are the kind of non thinking guy who gives conspiracy theories a bad name and makes a whole big hiding space for real conspirators because no one thinks real conspiracies exist any more.

Greg Goodman
Reply to  Greg Goodman
May 16, 2017 10:10 pm

Unscientific Americain tells us:
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/earth-is-not-round/
Earth’s center to sea level is roughly 21 kilometers (13 miles) greater at the equator than at the poles.
Do you expect to see that against a diameter of 12,742 km when eyeballing a youtube vid ?????
If you want to argue that NASA are faking it , you’re going to need to try a little harder in your science classes, or smoke less pot.

Butch
Reply to  JerryWDavis (@TruthToMan)
May 16, 2017 11:28 am

Hmm, did you accidentally post this here instead of CNN ?

May 16, 2017 5:56 am

information could be used in planet hunting, earth like atmosphere ect ect

loosemarbles
May 16, 2017 5:56 am

These flashes of light most likely are reflections off flying aircraft windshields.

May 16, 2017 6:19 am

I’m shocked that it’s not due to anthropomorphic global climate change. SHOCKED!

Greg
Reply to  Jay Smith
May 16, 2017 10:13 pm

“anthropomorphic global climate change” ? Is that climate change with two arms and legs a goofy smile ? LOL

Captain Nemo
May 16, 2017 6:20 am

When my space ship drops out of warp drive it produces the flash. People on earth don’t see this because of the cloaking of the earth side of my ship. Captain Nemo

Tommy Simmons
May 16, 2017 6:20 am

Maybe flashes are from telescopes looking at the camera, or N Korea testing missiles, or your mom [pruned]….who cares, stop wasting time and money looking for stupid [pruned]…..there are people starving that this could have fed. Maybe fill them up with this knowledge?

Butch
Reply to  Tommy Simmons
May 16, 2017 11:30 am

Dear MOD, what is the difference between “pruned” and “snipped” ??

Greg
Reply to  Butch
May 16, 2017 10:15 pm

When you get snipped you can’t have any more children. Be happy that you just got pruned.

Douglas Kubler
May 16, 2017 6:23 am

Did Sagan suffer confirmation bias? Were the bright flashes over the ocean the same ice crystals? Once one sees a reflection from the oceans then why not look for more from the oceana? Voila! A habitable planet.

AJ
Reply to  Douglas Kubler
May 16, 2017 7:13 am

Hasn’t anyone ever taken a broken mirror to the dump?

Ferrous mike
May 16, 2017 7:31 am

They witnessed a typical weekend on the streets of Chicago.

Micheal
May 16, 2017 7:32 am

Why don’t they post a pic of it? I swear every time NASA talks about something going on with planet earth they never show a pic and if they do show a pic its a fake pic of planet earth. Why must every pic of earth be fake?!? I wanna see real pics of our planet! Why should we keep funding NASA when they won’t even show us real pics of the earth

Micheal
May 16, 2017 7:37 am

How about showing us a “real” pic of planet earth. Why is it that every time NASA shows a pic of planet earth its fake? NASA gets funded how many millions a year and they can’t even show us a real pic of planet earth

manbearpig
May 16, 2017 8:20 am

That’s the reflection off of Obama’s or Gore’s huge motorcade taking them to the next climate conference.

Bob Boogie
May 16, 2017 8:21 am

It’s caused by man made climate change ..like everything else.

Vincent Werber
May 16, 2017 8:29 am

“Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts”
Richard P. Feynman

David Hickle
May 16, 2017 10:39 am

I know what it is causing that flash NASA spotted in space it’s a alien hybrid named daemon azel and I warned humanity and trump about hiss arrival and if government wanted that alien hybrid stoped they will have to have the healthcare system doctors specialists hospitals start me on the pain medicine I want dilaudid ketamine valium if not exsistance of time and outer space will be destroyed and I would allow it because of the government health care systems doctors specialists hospitals have already failed me and ruined my life 1 to many times

Butch
Reply to  David Hickle
May 16, 2017 11:33 am

Ummm, I hope you meant to add a “SARC” to that, or at least a “LOL”…If not, you definitely need medication….

Donald Schryer
May 16, 2017 1:31 pm

Very weird that they would use a satellite image containing clouds of the Nibiru Ship, currently parked right outside of earth. Check your skies often. I have caught the many objects in this system. No planets I can see, just a ship! And a creatively large one at that.

Donald Schryer
Reply to  Donald Schryer
May 17, 2017 10:28 am

NASA is extremely good at getting into the minds of people and putting them on a path far away from reality. Again, This photo includes many of the shapes in which the Sumerian Babylonian tablets have outlined. This is how they get everyone on a side quest to keep inquiring minds at bay. An ancient technology ship arrived approximately one year or so ago and NASA documented that as well, they just don’t know I received the images. The Ship has slowly approached and has been giving us quite a show during the nights and days recently. A UV producing Nibiru winged disc totem along the horizon provides a light source which can produce holographic projection imagery when many objects from the ship are deployed. A lot of this has been effectively hidden from sight. Everyone is missing quite an interesting phenomena at the moment.

Reply to  Donald Schryer
May 17, 2017 10:46 am

Donald, I spend a lot of time out in the middle of the night taking pictures of galaxies. What exactly should I be looking for and where, because I have yet to see anything at all.

Donald Schryer
Reply to  micro6500
May 17, 2017 11:19 am

The UV winged disk totem sticks up along the horizon, bouncing up and down and side to side. It moves around tremendously. due to it emitting UV light we do not see it easily, but I’m able to locate and find it once I understood all of this. The winged disc totem, when it is really active, does give off star-like sparks and that has helped me follow it around on those particular nights. It is also displayed during the daytime which is even more difficult to see against a blue sky. I have no way of predicting when things are at their height but last night was pretty active and it’s been getting more active on a daily basis versus over the course of the last several months it was only say 2 nights in a month. In addition to the totem our skies are generally filled with objects and projected, weird shaped things associated to this system. I definitely think a lot of it is projected in some form. I perform time-lapse photography almost every night for many hours and when I render the images with added color corrections I’m able to produce a lot of animated moving objects all around the sky. Although those could be projections as well into the camera lens. Otherwise with the naked eye everything at night appears with very faint wandering star lights associated with all of these things. You really go to look hard and with an open mind. There was however, at night, last Saturday May 13th. The night sky was filled with weird sometimes creepy objects slowly meandering around. I’m getting ready to upload a video to my YouTube channel in the next 2 hours showing one of these objects around the “moon”. My YouTube name is playjays. I have been attempting to document this arrival and what is going on for the past year up until now. Due to all of the recent activity with all of this I’m adding something daily. Glad you are interested! Perform an image search on Sumerian tablet imagery as it sort of is the blueprint for this phenomenon. I don’t know what it all means or what it all points too going forward. It’s happening now and seeing where it goes I guess. I started following this subject after studying ancient cultures like Egypt. I found something that indicated this would arrive last year and just as it arrived I was able to briefly obtain NASA HI2 Stereo images of them focusing on the many parts of this ship. I guess I was the only one waiting for it.

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