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# Another released video

## 70 posts in this topic

L.A.T. , such calculations aren't very useful unless you explain exactly what you did and why, and also elaborate on all your assumptions.  For a start, without a lot more information about the accuracy that the system itself has, handwaving about what 'might be reasonable' is not likely to give useful results.

So please show us with a diagram or explain and show your calculations in detail.

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1 hour ago, ChrLzs said:

L.A.T. , such calculations aren't very useful unless you explain exactly what you did and why, and also elaborate on all your assumptions.  For a start, without a lot more information about the accuracy that the system itself has, handwaving about what 'might be reasonable' is not likely to give useful results.

So please show us with a diagram or explain and show your calculations in detail.

Hi ChrLzs, my motivation was to try and extract as much info from the video in the hope it may help rule out some options on the objects identity. As I said, due to the limitations of the data it will only provide an approximation but this may be thought better than a guess ? I have assumed all figures displayed are accurate, so time interval, camera angle and so on but the range to target is only given to the nearest tenth of a mile and camera angle to the nearest full degree.

Using basic Trigonometry it is possible to use the numbers we know to give those we do not. So I used aircraft altitude of 25,000 ft and camera angle to find the distance from camera to sea level, then range to target to give distance along this line and then recalculate for altitude of object. I used an on line trig calculator rather than get my old log tables out.

A few other numbers I found during the exorcise was that the sea surface behind the object when it was at 4.4 mile range was 10.42 miles and 8.25 miles when the object was 3.4 miles from the jet.

Previous best guesses suggested it could be a bird and my earlier estimate of it's speed would support this suggestion but would this still look reasonable if it is at 14,500 ft ?

If you want to play with the numbers here is the on line trig calculator I used.

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4 minutes ago, L.A.T.1961 said:

Hi ChrLzs, my motivation was to try and extract as much info from the video in the hope it may help rule out some options on the objects identity. As I said, due to the limitations of the data it will only provide an approximation but this may be thought better than a guess ? I have assumed all figures displayed are accurate, so time interval, camera angle and so on but the range to target is only given to the nearest tenth of a mile and camera angle to the nearest full degree.

Using basic Trigonometry it is possible to use the numbers we know to give those we do not. So I used aircraft altitude of 25,000 ft and camera angle to find the distance from camera to sea level, then range to target to give distance along this line and then recalculate for altitude of object. I used an on line trig calculator rather than get my old log tables out.

A few other numbers I found during the exorcise was that the sea surface behind the object when it was at 4.4 mile range was 10.42 miles and 8.25 miles when the object was 3.4 miles from the jet.

Previous best guesses suggested it could be a bird and my earlier estimate of it's speed would support this suggestion but would this still look reasonable if it is at 14,500 ft ?

If you want to play with the numbers here is the on line trig calculator I used.

Thanks, LAT.  I don't have enough time right now to revisit the video and check all that, but I suspect I've spotted a problem or two...  Hopefully I'll be back in a day or so after I've had time to mull this over..  Sorry to tease! - but I will get back to it.

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This analysis of the ATFLIR might help.

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1 hour ago, L.A.T.1961 said:

Hi ChrLzs, my motivation was to try and extract as much info from the video in the hope it may help rule out some options on the objects identity. As I said, due to the limitations of the data it will only provide an approximation but this may be thought better than a guess ? I have assumed all figures displayed are accurate, so time interval, camera angle and so on but the range to target is only given to the nearest tenth of a mile and camera angle to the nearest full degree.

Using basic Trigonometry it is possible to use the numbers we know to give those we do not. So I used aircraft altitude of 25,000 ft and camera angle to find the distance from camera to sea level, then range to target to give distance along this line and then recalculate for altitude of object. I used an on line trig calculator rather than get my old log tables out.

A few other numbers I found during the exorcise was that the sea surface behind the object when it was at 4.4 mile range was 10.42 miles and 8.25 miles when the object was 3.4 miles from the jet.

Previous best guesses suggested it could be a bird and my earlier estimate of it's speed would support this suggestion but would this still look reasonable if it is at 14,500 ft ?

If you want to play with the numbers here is the on line trig calculator I used.

welcome to UM L.A.T.   Question and I'm definitely no math wiz so bear with me, but have you calculated the aircraft's speed and heading in relation to the object's speed (unknown) and heading (unknown)?   The crossing angle could be immense, or not, but will definitely have an effect on the object's relative speed and I don't know either of those answers so just asking.

Edited by Merc14

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46 minutes ago, Merc14 said:

welcome to UM L.A.T.   Question and I'm definitely no math wiz so bear with me, but have you calculated the aircraft's speed and heading in relation to the object's speed (unknown) and heading (unknown)?   The crossing angle could be immense, or not, but will definitely have an effect on the object's relative speed and I don't know either of those answers so just asking.

Hi Merc and thanks for the welcome, I did try and estimate a speed for the object and the number I came up with was 18 mph. The aircraft speed is shown on the video as about 250 knots, which reminds me my speed estimate should also be in knots. As you say the relative angles of travel would affect the speed estimate of the object. As the camera angle changes during the video it is only possible to approximate this.

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15 minutes ago, L.A.T.1961 said:

Hi Merc and thanks for the welcome, I did try and estimate a speed for the object and the number I came up with was 18 mph. The aircraft speed is shown on the video as about 250 knots, which reminds me my speed estimate should also be in knots. As you say the relative angles of travel would affect the speed estimate of the object. As the camera angle changes during the video it is only possible to approximate this.

Just be aware the display my not have due north at top.  The aircraft appears to be heading at 190° magnetic, then levels out heading 210°M and then left through 150°M with the sensor 35° to 54° left in upper left quadrant.

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Merc - good to see you here - one quick question, what methodology does ATFLIR use to get a range/distance/('slant'?) to target?  I'll be happy to do some geometry here, but I need to know where these numbers are coming from and whether they can be trusted to any degree of accuracy.

And to all readers, has anyone seen the provenance for this particular video?  The professionals {cough} at "To The Stars" (& Beyond - Hiho Silver and away!!) make a lot of the 'fact' this is supposedly verifiable and has provenance - but where exactly is the surrounding documentation - presumably there will also be a proper incident report and a technical discussion.  Well, there would be unless it was instantly dismissed as a seabird..  Frankly, the pilots sound like a coupla kids playing excitedly with a toy they've never used before....

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So the plane crew was surprised at the find. Whoopee doo. We know that. Somehow this makes this video special? Apparently, there is nothing more to this video than listening to plane crew get excited about picking out a bird.

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7 hours ago, ChrLzs said:

Merc - good to see you here - one quick question, what methodology does ATFLIR use to get a range/distance/('slant'?) to target?  I'll be happy to do some geometry here, but I need to know where these numbers are coming from and whether they can be trusted to any degree of accuracy.

And to all readers, has anyone seen the provenance for this particular video?  The professionals {cough} at "To The Stars" (& Beyond - Hiho Silver and away!!) make a lot of the 'fact' this is supposedly verifiable and has provenance - but where exactly is the surrounding documentation - presumably there will also be a proper incident report and a technical discussion.  Well, there would be unless it was instantly dismissed as a seabird..  Frankly, the pilots sound like a coupla kids playing excitedly with a toy they've never used before....

As stated, I have never used an ATFLIR, Chris, as I was out of the cockpit before the Tomcat got pods but I do not think the ATFLIR can get a range to a target.  I don't know how it could do it on its own other than extrapolating it from angles off and such.  My only experience with such gear was a system my squadron debuted called the TCS that was basically a 10x video camera slung under the nose that slaved to the radar and vice-versa.  It locked onto contrast and the range came from the radar lock.  What I find curious in LL of these videos is the lack of a radar lock.  Have you noticed that?  In not one case has the aircrew slaved the radar to the ATFLIR and gotten a range.  Just to be clear, I am very much from the steam driven aircraft days and these aircraft have far more sophisticated systems then I ever imagined using so possibly they don't need to do that to get range so take everything I say on the subject with a block of salt.

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Assuming the altitude for the object in the new video is  ~14,500 feet, as was indicated. -- I doubt that a bird is a likely explanation. The high winds aloft, thin, cold air, and the energy consumed to reach such a height means that most birds are rarely found above 500 feet. Mallard Ducks fly unusually high when migrating, but these birds travel in conspicuous V formations.

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8 hours ago, Merc14 said:

As stated, I have never used an ATFLIR, Chris, as I was out of the cockpit before the Tomcat got pods but I do not think the ATFLIR can get a range to a target.  I don't know how it could do it on its own other than extrapolating it from angles off and such.  My only experience with such gear was a system my squadron debuted called the TCS that was basically a 10x video camera slung under the nose that slaved to the radar and vice-versa.  It locked onto contrast and the range came from the radar lock.  What I find curious in LL of these videos is the lack of a radar lock.  Have you noticed that?  In not one case has the aircrew slaved the radar to the ATFLIR and gotten a range.  Just to be clear, I am very much from the steam driven aircraft days and these aircraft have far more sophisticated systems then I ever imagined using so possibly they don't need to do that to get range so take everything I say on the subject with a block of salt.

I haven't yet had time to dig much deeper, but I understand that some of the newer ATFLIR's use some kind of laser 'rangefinder' device.  If it is a rangefinder, then I'd definitely want to know the error range, as that will vary - rangefinders work best on nearby stuff - the further away, the greater the error.  If it is a genuine 'radar' type of system where it bounces stuff off the target and times the return that should be more accurate.... but.. as you say, it doesn't seem to behave like that sort of system, and I have my doubts about how well it could lock onto something as tiny as is shown.  The locking seems to be absolutely perfect, and I would have thought that would have been very difficult on a distant tiny little fluffy bundle of feathers, with no significant heat signature..  It's not exactly what they were designed to do..

Hmmmmmmmmmm.   I smell a slight whiff of fish, and until I see that provenance....

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Wasn' this posted a few months ago?

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I have no idea how the ATFLIR's system works but assumed it was based on gps location and knowing the pointing angle of the camera ? Merc mentioned above "extrapolating it from angles" and this method would generate a range.

If the jets position can be accurately plotted, in a 3D space, and the camera can track movement accurately enough to give steady angle measurements, then using the base line created by the aircraft's forward motion, along with multiple measurements, a range to target could be calculated.

This would avoid using Radar, presumably there could be times when having a passive method to track a target would be useful in military applications ?

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2 hours ago, bison said:

Assuming the altitude for the object in the new video is  ~14,500 feet, as was indicated. -- I doubt that a bird is a likely explanation. The high winds aloft, thin, cold air, and the energy consumed to reach such a height means that most birds are rarely found above 500 feet. Mallard Ducks fly unusually high when migrating, but these birds travel in conspicuous V formations.

Guess you don't know much about birds.  The assumptions you list here are just as horrible as any you have posted in this thread. Anyone that  has hiked in the Rockies knows that birds appear above them regardless of the altitude of the hiker. The 500 feet suggestion is just downright ignorant. Wy can birds fly high? Because their lungs are so much better than ours.

As has been pointed out not a drop of math has been posted. Until then the suggestion of 14,500 is still well within the altitude birds use.

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3 hours ago, bison said:

Assuming the altitude for the object in the new video is  ~14,500 feet, as was indicated. -- I doubt that a bird is a likely explanation. The high winds aloft, thin, cold air, and the energy consumed to reach such a height means that most birds are rarely found above 500 feet. Mallard Ducks fly unusually high when migrating, but these birds travel in conspicuous V formations.

I would add to the above that migrating birds, in general, not just the example I gave, are an exception to the 500 foot figure. Migration occurs at high altitudes. Large birds form very large V formations when migrating. If a large bird were seen at  ~14,500 ft., It would be reasonable to expect to see it accompanied by other birds of its kind, flying in an easily spotted V pattern. Such a pattern is not seen in the latest video.

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49 minutes ago, bison said:

I would add to the above that migrating birds, in general, not just the example I gave, are an exception to the 500 foot figure. Migration occurs at high altitudes. Large birds form very large V formations when migrating. If a large bird were seen at  ~14,500 ft., It would be reasonable to expect to see it accompanied by other birds of its kind, flying in an easily spotted V pattern. Such a pattern is not seen in the latest video.

Not true. The idea that birds form vees during migration is due to the commonly seen ducks and geese.  Even then these gregarious birds do at time travel apart from the flock.

Most migrating birds do not fly in vees. Migrating raptors do not form vees. Migrating neotropicals do not form vees.

Pelagic species do not form vees. Examples are the already mentioned albatross and gannet.

Quote

Flocked migrants include a wide variety of birds. Most of the large water birds travel in flocks, usually of impressive size. Among these are auks and puffins, cormorants, pelicans, ducks and geese, cranes, gulls, terns, sandpipers, and plovers. Often they congregate during migration at a few major stopover or staging areas where food is particularly abundant. Flocking is also common among many land birds, including doves, swifts, swallows, larks, pipits, crows, jays, waxwings, blackbirds, and starlings.

An equally diverse array of species seems to migrate in a more solitary fashion, perhaps occasionally forming more or less aggregations with others of their kind, but basically winging it alone. These birds include grebes, most herons, rails, some hawks, owls, nightjars, cuckoos, hummingbirds, kingfishers, woodpeckers, most flycatchers, creepers, wrens, kinglets, thrushes, vireos, wood warblers, and orioles.

Although they form flocks for migration they do not often form a vee.

The lack of vee by large numbers of irds is often demonstrated by the murmurations of starlings.

I would point out that the "I would add to the above that migrating birds, in general, not just the example I gave, are an exception to the 500 foot figure. Migration occurs at high altitudes. " is utter nonsense. Birds can fly quite high. They do it and often exceed the 500 foot mark. There are many species that do not migrate and exceed this height. Most migrating species do not fly high.

Quote
The prevailing view is that migratory birds probably do not react to the general weather situa-tion as such, but to key components, particularly
wind and rain (Newton 2010). Daytime waterbird migration may occur at relatively low altitudes
(<300 m), while the nocturnal migration seems to occur above one kilometre (Cooper & Ritchie
1995). However, flight altitude is highly dependent on the species and the nature of the migration,
i.e., seasonal or local migration. Often the flight altitude shows substantial day-to-day variation,
which in many cases is likely to derive from wind components. For example, tailwinds of considerable
strength provide favourable wind assistance that is often associated with elevated flight alti- tudes

Here is the summary:

1. birds can fly high
2. birds can fly solo
Edited by stereologist
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OK...  I was going to spend a goodly bit of time analysing this, but two things happened.  First up I made the dreadful mistake of assuming that I could go to the To The Stars (Taddaaaa!) website and find the longer original footage.  Silly me - the site is a huge and useless Shopping Mall.  I guess somewhere amongst the ads there's a link to the part that pretends to be serious, but when sites waste my time like that utter p-o-s did... I move on quickly.

Ah, Mick - you're my hero!  Not only do you know all about this stuff, you did the calculations and pointed out all the problems and assumptions far better than I would have...

I would invite anyone truly interested in how to analyse this type of footage properly, take a long hard look at Mick's first few posts there.  As you can see, it is NOT simple at all.  BTW, I love his animated graph!

Essentially Mick points out that the vast majority of the motion of the object is in fact caused by the jet's path and the panning of the camera - the object is almost certainly something in the foreground that is likely not moving all that fast at all - the perceived motion is simply the background seascape whizzing past as the camera pans quickly to keep the item centred.  This is one of those times that once you have decided the object is skimming above the waves, it is very hard to unsee it!  But Mick also gives some examples of the type of relative motion we are seeing, with rather cool examples like this:

.Hopefully that begins to show the effect - but I do thoroughly recommend anyone with doubts goes and visits the entire thread.  They even cover my (correct!) theory about the temperature of the thing, although whether it is a bird or perhaps a weather balloon or ... is still up for dispute.

If there's something that Mick says that you disagree with or don't understand, then be specific and bring it back here.

BTW, here's a final comment:

The conclusion seems to be that it was an albatross, by the name of Albert.

OH, OK, not really.  A weather balloon (two of which are released into that area each day) seems to be a better fit.

Edited by ChrLzs
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11 hours ago, bison said:

I would add to the above that migrating birds, in general, not just the example I gave, are an exception to the 500 foot figure. Migration occurs at high altitudes. Large birds form very large V formations when migrating. If a large bird were seen at  ~14,500 ft., It would be reasonable to expect to see it accompanied by other birds of its kind, flying in an easily spotted V pattern. Such a pattern is not seen in the latest video.

That may be true for some birds.   Even if this is one of those birds, it is possible that it lost the group.   That seems more likely than an alien craft.

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7 hours ago, ChrLzs said:

The conclusion seems to be that it was an albatross.

That's what it looked like to me. Those suckers are fast too.

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