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Mysterious red trails captured on camera in North Carolina


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With it being time lapsed, I guess it could be anything. Helicopter maybe?  Really cool looking effects though. 

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sunset/rise hitting contrails.?..helicopter maybe also...  time lapse gives false sense of behavior.. 

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Really cool to look at. They are faster than the regular aircraft so it is a jet or other ;)

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Looking at google maps, there's 7 airports nearby, with one at the edge of Pamlico Sound, where the streaks were seen. It's a good chance it was planes waiting to land. Planes can look weird in time lapsed video
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drones seems the obvious answer. 

hard to gauge their relative speed with the playback speed of the video being altered.

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At their speed - faster than regular aircraft, I would suggest that these crafts are not waiting to land. They would have to be circling slowly to be that

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Mysterious? No.

Nothing he is quoted as saying makes it sound mysterious at all, just maybe lights of a different flight pattern than he may be used to capturing.

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2 hours ago, Earl.Of.Trumps said:

At their speed - faster than regular aircraft, I would suggest that these crafts are not waiting to land. They would have to be circling slowly to be that

What makes you think they are faster? They are in fact slower, much, much slower.

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18 hours ago, stereologist said:

What makes you think they are faster? They are in fact slower, much, much slower.

look at the first red one at the 23 second mark. it makes the tight circle going faster than the plane that just flew past (going right to left in video)

That's obvious

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26 minutes ago, Earl.Of.Trumps said:

look at the first red one at the 23 second mark. it makes the tight circle going faster than the plane that just flew past (going right to left in video)

That's obvious

Wrong. Very wrong.

This is an example of projection. The plane in the distance is traveling around 6 miles up and assuming that the angle of the image is 45 degrees roughly 20 miles away. The turning plane is coming from an airport maybe 4 miles away.

To subtend the same angle in the same time an object 20 miles away must be traveling 5 times as fast as an object 4 miles away. That is not the case. If the distant plane is traveling long the coast at 600 miles an hour and is 5 times farther away, then the near object is traveling between 120 miles an our and maybe 200 mph. That's above the speed required for planes to leave the ground, but well below cruising speed.

As I stated, the distant planes are traveling much much faster, at least 400 mph faster.

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5 hours ago, stereologist said:

Wrong. Very wrong.

This is an example of projection. The plane in the distance is traveling around 6 miles up and assuming that the angle of the image is 45 degrees roughly 20 miles away. The turning plane is coming from an airport maybe 4 miles away.

To subtend the same angle in the same time an object 20 miles away must be traveling 5 times as fast as an object 4 miles away. That is not the case. If the distant plane is traveling long the coast at 600 miles an hour and is 5 times farther away, then the near object is traveling between 120 miles an our and maybe 200 mph. That's above the speed required for planes to leave the ground, but well below cruising speed.

As I stated, the distant planes are traveling much much faster, at least 400 mph faster.

.

And of course, you have these distances all figured out. How could I forget how perfect you are! :o

Needless to say, I'm not buying your argument.

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39 minutes ago, Earl.Of.Trumps said:

.And of course, you have these distances all figured out. How could I forget how perfect you are! :o

Needless to say, I'm not buying your argument.

You don’t have to agree with the distance estimations.

What you should agree with is that it looks exactly like what aircraft lights at different distances do look like.

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10 hours ago, Earl.Of.Trumps said:

And of course, you have these distances all figured out. How could I forget how perfect you are! :o

1.  I note you didn't actually dispute any of what he laid out for you.  That's why you never learn anything.

2. Are you not aware of simple perspective, and the essential need to consider distance?  How about angular velocity, and how it relates to actual velocity?  What about the effects of timelapse - do you know how shutter speed *and* frame interval affects velocity calculations?  I *own* an intervalometer for my Sony DSLR camera - would you like me to elaborate on how it works, and what one needs to know before one makes a dam fool of oneself on a forum?

Going back to your original claim, I'd really like to know what you did to get your estimates of the actual relative velocities.  You could start with how you got your distances, because you must surely know just how important and fundamental those distances are.....

10 hours ago, Earl.Of.Trumps said:

Needless to say, I'm not buying your argument.

Out of complete and utter ignorance.

Edited by ChrLzs
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12 hours ago, Earl.Of.Trumps said:

.

And of course, you have these distances all figured out. How could I forget how perfect you are! :o

Needless to say, I'm not buying your argument.

That's because you are incompetent at basic math.

So you don't know that planes cruise at 6+ mile in the air? Of course you don't.

You don't have a clue as to the angle that an image subtends do you? Of course you don't.

You no idea how close the airports are to the camera? Of course you don't because you never examine the evidence.

It doesn't matter if you don't understand. You refuse to understand which I have to accept is what you do.

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While we're waiting for Earl to come back and enlighten us... :D 

This is rather good footage compared to the usual dreck we get, so I am thinking about spending some time looking in detail at this.  Not because I think it is anything non-terrestrial or even all that unusual, but because:

- it's good quality imagery
- the author has posted some technical details and looks like he might be amenable to some questions
- it's quite nice to look at.. :) 

- there are quite a few interesting aspects to the footage, relating to other things in the scene that will help with analysis - like the car trails to the left and the very hazy atmospherics near the horizon, and even the movement of that gorgeous starry background.

So, there's a lot to this footage, and I think it might be fun and perhaps even educational.  For some.

BTW, this footage is way better than anything I've done with my setup (I've only done a few time-lapses), so I'm kinda slightly jealous and slightly embarrassed!  I need to stop talking about my camera and use it more... :blush:

Edited by ChrLzs
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Jet contrails, illuminated obliquely at sun rise or sunset.

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OK, here we go.  Note that I won't get much done tonight..  (or if I do, I won't get much sleep.. :) ).  This is just a long-winded intro, so if you want to get your teeth into some analysis, skip this one.....

Still reading?  :)  I'm going to offer up a step by step analysis, focusing (grin) on the area of interest, naturally...  but initially I'd like to spend a goodly while looking at the entire image and delve into anything that can help us understand what we are seeing.  There's quite a bit going on in this footage, and it's a great example of time lapse photography, which is filled with traps for the beginner/pretender analyst...

So there's much to learn (for me too), and I'd be delighted if folks would like to chime in.  I'd prefer it if you refrain from going too far ahead (no thunder stealing, please!!), but I'd greatly welcome any input on each aspect of the imagery as I deal with it - if I screw up or you have additional info or wish to dispute anything, including the math (don't panic, it will be pretty simple stuff..), then chime in!! .

Or if you can't follow the logic, don't hesitate to ask me to stop and re-explain or justify any claims I make...

First up, am I qualified to do this?  Nup - my only 'diploma' is from the school of life...  But I've been a photography nut since the early 60's as a kid with a Brownie.. I was a professional photographer (on the weekends for several years in the 80's) mostly doing what might be rudely called "upper class" weddings and some portraiture for an upmarket studio, but frankly I prefer hobbying on landscapes and scenery.  I suffered somewhat from being mildly red-green colorblind, and for that reason was VERY interested when digital imaging came along, as I could use the 'numbers' to overcome my disability :clap: .  When digital reached a standard that exceeded film, I immediately jumped over to it and learnt every technique I could.  And I have taught photography at beginner through advanced levels, including the evil of editing (aka Photoshop - eeek!).  I also dabble in the black art of photogrammetry.  More about that later... I do my photography on a budget and own a relatively 'old' Sony α57 16Mp DSLR, with several lenses ranging from an 8mm fisheye right through to 800mm telephoto.

Enough about me - feel free to judge on what I post from herein..

First up, here's a quick look at the scene...
timelapsetrails.jpg.dd5d02f4c4a03d2fc66efd858ce4850c.jpg
Note the "Look Here" message at lower right - that's where the action happens.  We'll come back to that later

For anyone who hasn't seen the video yet, the link to youtube is:

and it's worth a visit, especially if you haven't seen time-lapse before.  (I should demand payment for the extra hits he'll get...)

IMPORTANT - when watching it, consider carefully how time-lapse works.  In this case, for each frame, the shutter stays open for 10 seconds or more, and then there is a brief pause (maybe 1-2 seconds) then it takes another 10+second exposure.  So each frame is a time exposure and anything that moves at any noticeable speed creates a line or blur in the direction of movement.  In ten seconds, stars barely move, so they are mostly still points, but aircraft/cars etc create long trails...  Think about what all that means - even when this footage was taken, each frame captures a long period of time, so it was not 'real-time'..  PLUS, it's up to the videographer what rate they play it back to you, so again, it is even less like real time.  Unless you know all the timings you should not make guesses about whether the moving things are going fast or slow - it's quite complicated.  I won't get into the details on all that until later.  For now, don't be fooled - it's NOT real-time!!!

Be back later...

Edited by ChrLzs
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Everybody but EOT understands that riding in a car shows that things that are closer appear to move faster than distant objects. A tree by the road moves faster than a distant mountain. This is called parallax and is one of the key ways in which the visual system determines how far away something is. In fact, many virtual environment systems show monocular vision and allow occlusion and parallax to provide the 3D information to the viewer instead of offering a binocular view.

Elementary school geometry lessons show how this works. By middle school the student has enough information to perform simple calculations such as those that I presented earlier.

There is an awesome time lase sequence in the movie The Alpinist showing the ascent of Cerro Egger at night. Stunning photography throughout the film.

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3 hours ago, Earl.Of.Trumps said:

What's the integral of Tan(x)dx?

Before anyone answers, I think it's fair to ask how you would use integration (or differentiation) for the imagery that this thread is about?

One obvious reason is to pretend you know stuff, but what's your reason, @Earl.Of.Trumps?  If you can't relate it to this situation, then please do not derail the thread further.

 

Getting back to the image..
timelapsetrails.jpg
.. here's a few rather obvious observations:

  • The imagery is taken in very low light, although the scene is at times illuminated by passing headlights and other sources I'll talk about later.  The sky is mostly clear, but it is very 'hazy' towards the horizon esp. at lower right.  There is either some residual dusk/dawn light, and / or perhaps a reasonably distant large, bright city or town that is throwing a lot of light up into that haze, as noted especially at lower right where the light trails appear.
  • As I mentioned earlier, we can use 'the numbers' to identify the white balance setting of the camera/image - sampling the darkest areas of the sky gives an average reading of about R80, G85, B88 which is a very slightly bluish dark grey, ie 'neutral'.  That suggests the white balance is standard 'daylight', in other words it is not balanced for incandescent (yellowish) light and will give us pretty accurate colour readings - I'll be using those numbers later when we look at the trails in that reddish hazy area.. (and also explain how you too can check the colour 'digitally'). 
  • At lower left, there appears to be a road along which vehicles are travelling.  Their headlights are quite a bright white, so the road is likely not very far away, and those lights are therefore not affected by going through a lot of dusty/moist/polluted air - UNlike that area at lower right.  All these clues will be important later...
  • Without further information it is difficult to be precise about the angle of view (ie is it fisheye, wide, normal, telephoto) but my impression is that the lens is of high quality (reasonably sharp and little distortion at the extreme edges).  Using my spider-senses) it looks to be slightly wide angle view, (about 30-40mm for those who know 35mm format lenses).  Well be able to work out the actual field of view (focal length) later - we can even use the stars' movements to help with that, or just look at the constellations and work it out that way.

.. phew..  all that and I am barely started - there's much more to come and I haven't even begun to look at the time-lapse issues..........

Most things in life are complex, and are NOT amenable to half-assed guesses by folks who don't know the first thing about the topic at hand.

One passing point - this is clearly a well-known location that we can google up to verify both the location *and* the direction the camera was pointing.

Right now I have a life, so bye.  Be back later.  Again, if you have some constructive comments to add, or wish to dispute anything I've posted so far, feel free - I am eager to learn new stuff from any expertise you may have!

Edited by ChrLzs
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6 hours ago, stereologist said:

Please provide your mathematical analysis of my statements or admit failure on all counts.

It was simple math well, well, well below anything you claimed

Please provide the following data:
1) the distance to all crafts flying by
2) the ground speed to all crafts flying by
3) the distance to the red-orbited crafts 
4) the ground speed to such red-orbited crafts

Then I will be happy to compute an answer for you.

 

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