It has now been a year since I returned to my hobby of night sky photography and I have seen many different types of lights in the sky. Most of them are explainable; satellites, spacecraft, high-flying aircraft, and other lights that have totally celestial explanations.
I have spotted some lights that I can’t easily explain or readily identify. With a little time and amateur sleuthing, an explanation was found for most of them. As the year progressed I seemed to have acquired some tools and news skills to help with identifying the lights. One main tool is the awesome software app for my iPhone titled Sky Guide, which also has an add-on for satellites and celestial objects, and it is pretty accurate when you track these objects in the sky
Even with the new skills and tools, there are some lights that don’t have an easy explanation and remain to this day in the unidentified category.
November 20, 2015 7:47PM MST: (North Phoenix, Arizona) from our backyard, we noticed a reddish-orange light hovering just above the eastern horizon. I didn’t see it I ascend or descend when it first appeared. I proceeded to take several pictures of it and watched as it just faded out and disappeared. I looked at the footage later that night and noticed that it didn’t go in just one direction, it fly in a pretty erratic flight pattern before disappearing into nothingness. You can clearly see this when you play the pictures back in sequence.
A more recent incident happened on the night of December 10, 2015 this also witnessed from my backyard. Around 6:50 PM I noticed blinking white light moving west above neighboring houses. The light was high in the sky high and blinking in intervals of three, then blank and then starting over. It seemed to be above the clouds as it moved along. I swung the camera around to capture it and then I noticed a second white light moving west, blinking in the same sequence, heading south. Then I noticed that they were blinking the same sequence in synch with each other. The second light made an abrupt turn to the west, now following the flight path of the first light. As the two lights moved toward a distant tree line, I noticed a third light moving towards the south, blinking in the same sequence as the first two. The third light also made an abrupt turn toward the west and was following the same flightpath as the as the first two. I tried to identify these lights, and strained as I listened for any engine noise, but didn’t hear anything. I kept seeing these blinking lights for what I would say was for about 45 minutes to an hour. I caught most of them with my camera.
In the days that followed, I’ve tried to find a reasonable explanation for the blinking lights. One possible conclusion was that they were part navigation lights belonging to the new F 35 fighter. Luke Air Force base is west of us, and they are one of the training bases for the new fighter jet. When I saw the last group of lights that night, I heard slight rumbling of what sounded like jet engine noises akin to fighter planes.
I did a little bit of research and I was able to find video of F 35 flying at night and the night and the light sequences seemed similar. I am not saying that this is the explanation for the lights but it’s a strong possibility and it is a good example of what a little bit of research can do in these situations.
No, you will not find an explanation for all unidentified lights in the sky, but being an informed observer you can identify most of them.
By Rod Washington
NASA Leaders to Highlight 25th Anniversary of Space Station with Crew
NASA is celebrating the 25th anniversary of International Space Station operations during a live conversation with crew aboard the microgravity laboratory for the benefit of humanity. During a space-to-Earth call at 12:25 p.m. EST Wednesday, Dec. 6, the Expedition 70 crew will speak with NASA Associate Administrator Bob Cabana and Joel Montalbano, space station program manager.
Watch on the NASA+ streaming service at no cost on demand. The discussion also will air live on NASA Television, the NASA app, YouTube, and the agency’s website. Learn how to stream NASA TV through a variety of platforms including social media.
On Dec. 6, 1998, the first two elements of the orbital outpost, Unity and Zarya, were attached by crew members of space shuttle Endeavour’s STS-88 mission. Cabana was the commander of the mission and the first American to enter the space station.
Through this global endeavor, astronauts have continuously lived and worked aboard the space station for more than 23 years, testing technologies, performing science, and developing the skills needed to explore farther from Earth. It has been visited by 273 people from 21 countries.
More than 3,300 research and educational investigations have been conducted on station from 108 countries and areas. Many of these research and technology investigations benefit people on Earth, and many lay the groundwork for future commercial destinations in low Earth orbit and exploration farther into the solar system. Together with Artemis missions to the Moon, these proving grounds will help prepare NASA for future human exploration of Mars.
Learn more about the International Space Station at:
NASA, Partners Launch US Greenhouse Gas Center to Share Climate Data
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan, and other United States government leaders unveiled the U.S. Greenhouse Gas Center Monday during the 28th annual United Nations Climate Conference (COP28).
“NASA data is essential to making the changes needed on the ground to protect our climate. The U.S. Greenhouse Gas Center is another way the Biden-Harris Administration is working to make critical data available to more people – from scientists running data analyses, to government officials making decisions on climate policy, to members of the public who want to understand how climate change will affect them,” said Nelson. “We’re bringing space to Earth to benefit communities across the country.”
The U.S. Greenhouse Gas Center will serve as a hub for collaboration between agencies across the U.S. government as well as non-profit and private sector partners. Data, information, and computer models from observations from the International Space Station, various satellite and airborne missions, and ground stations are available online.
As the lead implementing agency of the center, NASA partnered with the EPA, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Science experts from each of these U.S. federal agencies curated this catalog of greenhouse gas datasets and analysis tools.
“A goal of the U.S. Greenhouse Gas Center is to accelerate the collaborative use of Earth science data,” said Argyro Kavvada, center program manager at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “We’re working to get the right data into the hands of people who can use it to manage and track greenhouse gas emissions.”
The center’s data catalog includes a curated collection of data sets that provide insights into greenhouse gas sources, sinks, emissions, and fluxes. Initial information in the center website is focused on three areas:
- Estimates of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities
- Naturally occurring greenhouse gas sources and sinks on land and in the ocean.
- Large methane emission event identification and quantification, leveraging aircraft and space-based data
An example of a dataset is the methane gas information detected by NASA’s EMIT (Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation) mission. Located on the International Space Station, EMIT is an imaging spectrometer that measures light in visible and infrared wavelengths and thus can measure release of methane on Earth.
Built on open-source principles, the U.S. Greenhouse Gas Center’s datasets, related algorithms, and supporting code are fully open sourced. This allows anyone to test the data, algorithms, and results. The center also includes user support and an analysis hub for users to perform advanced data analysis with computational resources and an interactive, visual interface for storytelling. NASA encourages feedback and ideas on the center’s evolution. The center is part of a broader administration effort to enhance greenhouse gas information, outlined in the recently released National Strategy to Advance an Integrated U.S. Greenhouse Gas Measurement, Monitoring, and Information System.
For more information on NASA, visit:
Boom Partners with Latecoere for Supersonic Aircraft EWIS Architecture
Boom teams up with Latecoere to redefine EWIS architecture for supersonic aircraft, bringing together expertise for optimal safety and reliability.
Boom, the innovative aerospace company, has announced its collaboration with global aerospace leader Latecoere as part of its expanding network of suppliers. Latecoere’s engineering team in Toulouse, France, will work in conjunction with Boom engineers to define the complete electrical wiring interconnection system (EWIS) architecture for both Overture and Symphony aircraft.
Latecoere’s expertise in developing and manufacturing certifiable EWIS and advanced aircraft technologies makes them a valuable addition to Boom’s lineup of suppliers for Overture. The EWIS for these aircraft will consist of an extensive 103 kilometers (64 miles) of wiring, encompassing over 45,000 electrical connections. This comprehensive system ensures optimal safety and reliability for Overture and Symphony.
Latecoere brings years of experience in complex aircraft development processes and methods, making them an ideal partner for Boom. The company’s industry-leading harness architecture definition software stack will be leveraged to support Boom’s ambitious goals in sustainable supersonic air travel.
By collaborating with top-tier suppliers like Latecoere, Boom is demonstrating its commitment to assembling a world-class team to make supersonic air travel a reality. Latecoere’s CEO, Greg Huttner, expressed pride in supporting Boom’s vision and continuing to contribute to the development of next-generation flight. This partnership is a significant step forward in the advancement of supersonic aviation technology.
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