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What is this light? Answered

Can this be done with lasers?





Best Answer 8 years ago

Looks like an out of control missile to me.

And this one gets best answer, for being right on the money -- a Russian Bulava (submarine launched ICBM) had a thrd-stage failure.

Looks like a _fake_ to me, actually.

Not fake.  As Burf wrote, it was a failed test of a Russian sub-launched ICBM.  The equally spaced spiral pattern is exactly what you'd expect for something on a ballistic (constant speed) trajectory, spinning and spewing fuel. 

There's a discussion thread in the U.K.'s Science File, where one of today's posts has a link to a very nice simulation video (it is rocket science, after all!).

The actual spiral pattern continuing to spin like a film projected on the clouds (at what size and altitude?) is not exactly what I'd expect. Did you find something credible and official on this?


That's fairly simple physics, and partially an optical illusion.  If you consider the individual fuel "particles", they're travelling away from the axis of the trajectory in straight lines.  If you were dealing with a closed circle, like a smoke ring, it would appear to expand outward and get dimmer. 

In this case, the spiral arms are similarly just getting bigger and dimmer, but your eye "connects the dots", and your brain interprets the spiral as going around and around as it expands.

I see what was captured on the video, and some source of light which appears to be coming from the ground.


Check out the discussion thread on the Science File (see above).  Here's the simulation video I mentioned (it was linked from a Daily Mail >shudder< story).

The blue trail is from the main rocket exhaust, while the large white spiral is from the leak.

I might get it in the end... How is the blue artifact wider further away and narrower closer to the ground, you'd think it'd be the other way around?


Just perspective, again with an optical illusion induced by the lack of any reference points.  If the rocket's trajectory was from over the horizon in the approximate (not direct!) direction of the viewer, then the bottom of the trajectory would be farther away from the viewer than the top.

I think the motion effect was an optical illulsion.
Much like this:


8 years ago

It is light refracted off the vapor trail  left by a Russian missile. The Norwegians have been seeing the aftereffects  of Russian spacecraft launches for 40 years.

The Russians have confirmed the launch.  I haven't yet heard an explanation on why this one left a spiral formation but I have seen some pictures of the same vapor trail taken from different viewpoints and they did not show this same spiral shape. A peculiarity  of the angle of light or a photographic effect perhaps.  I dunno.


Answer 8 years ago

According to MSNBC, the spiraling effect was caused when  an engine failure on the third stage caused it to spin uncontrollably, thus leaving the spiral shaped vapor trail in its wake.


... OK, that actually makes some sense. I'd give Burf the Best Answer .


8 years ago

My Uncle Edgar put on a firework show for my Auntie Gladys' 90th birthday. Things were going quite well, (after the triple headed turbo swizzer demolished the shed),-until Uncle Edgar got to the homemade catherine wheel....... Now Uncle Edgar who is quite partial to a drink or four of his own special 80% Proof nectar (as he calls it), was struggling to light the catherine wheel-there were more sparks coming from him!

Well..; at this point my cousin 'Loper' (so named on account of the accident that gave him rather long arms), suggested that we should put some accelerant on the blue touch paper 'to assist in the launching'.

Well...; Uncle Edgar who was prostrate with the joy of imbibement, told Loper to 'get the stuff from the shed'. Loper was puzzled by this, because there was no shed.., just a large hole in the ground.

Loper thought carefully ( which admittedly was a state of being for him), and he determined not to disappoint Uncle Edgar. He realised that Uncle Edgar kept some drums of fuel in the outside latrine.

(Dear departed Loper was not to know that Uncle Edgar in his military heyday was a re fueler of fighter jets. Now...; Uncle Edgar, never being one to pass up an opportunity managed to 'commandeer' several drums of Avgas in a deal with a gentleman of dubious character.

Mean spirited fellow that he was, (Uncle Edgar not the appliance fixer), Uncle did not get the price he wanted.

So he kept two drums back).

Well.............., this is where Loper enters the picture,- emptying nearly a whole drum over the catherine wheel touch paper!

Uncle Edgar is by now unconscious, so Loper lit the fuse.

Loper was found in New South Wales......, Queensland......., the Northern Territory. A couple of pieces of him landed in New Zealand's North Island.

The Catherine Wheel???? We have no idea where that went.

I figured a projector might be the source. Looks like there's one that could do it after all

It's annoying that so many people have reproduced this (w/ref searching) give it a week and we might get to the source?


for a minute I thought it might just be a gel setup over a spotlight, but the quality of the projection seemed to god for that.

Prolly someone filming a chunk of sky scenery for an upcoming movie or someone having fun with the mediacrasy

oh...*that light...

nah it's just Satan's minions opening a vortex to the nether world. Nothing to worry about. ;-)

might be able to do that using a high powered projector and a bit of video editing to add the spirally blue stuff. gotta luv the music. All spooky and extraterrestrial-like.

honestly, I have no idea. I've created laser "vortices" in the past, using a modified laser light show setup and a smoke generator in a lab @ CWRU, (we used the gizmo to -officially- generate sheets for LDA flow visualizations back in the mid 80s) but that looks like it'd take a great deal more power than anything I've worked with, and the image that appeared on the cloud layer looks more like a traditional projection than a laser generated.