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Bizarre Expanding Light Halo Seen By Hawaii Webcam

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the only-part-of-the-sky-is-falling dept.

Earth 38

The Bad Astronomer writes "A webcam mounted at the CFHT observatory in Hawaii caught a strange, expanding halo of light on the night of June 22. Announced on the Starship Asterisk forum, readers quickly honed in on the likely culprit: the terminal charge from the third stage of a Minuteman III missile. Very similar to the Norway Spiral of 2009, and scientific sleuthing at its best!"

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Bizarre not so much (1)

darth_MALL (657218) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627800)

There's a pretty good breakdown of what happened. Lucky catch, yes, but not really bizarre. I'm grumpy today...

Re:Bizarre not so much (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627850)

And by the look of it, the summary is wrong. According to the forum, it's hinted that it's not a Minuteman III ICBM but a Waverider scramjet cruise missile.

Correct me if I'm wrong, Hawaii isn't where the MM III tests are generally launched from - I was under the impression it was from Guam.

Re:Bizarre not so much (3, Informative)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627970)

No I think that has been ruled out (the Waverider scramjet cruise missile), basically because the Waverider test took place on March 22, 2011 -- however the timestamps on the video are June 22, 2011 (a mistake of dates in Ichi Tanaka's email).

Re:Bizarre not so much (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 3 years ago | (#36636482)

The Waverider was delayed until June, but it could have been either as the Miniteman was launched from CA towards HI.

Re:Bizarre not so much (0)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 3 years ago | (#36628008)

Pity, it would have been interesting if this was a FTL [] test. Hopefully, next time.

Re:Bizarre not so much (1)

RMingin (985478) | more than 3 years ago | (#36628894)

By actually reading the article, I was convinced it is, in fact, the unarmed Minuteman III moving from Vandenburg to Kwajalein. The time, direction, and appearance match up with the terminal stage burnout.

No, it was THE EVENT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36627854)

Coming last fall to NBC.

Re:No, it was THE EVENT (1)

RubberDogBone (851604) | more than 3 years ago | (#36629164)

The Event -we blew an entire season trying to come up with something epic to fit the show name, and in the end, we phoned in the best idea somebody had and then we all went to Taco Bell for lunch and also to look for a new job.

Seriously. The actual 'event' was ludicrous and fucking stupid. It's a good thing nobody was actually watching or they'd feel cheated.

Re:No, it was THE EVENT (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630640)

Eh.. that's basically the formula of "Lost." And looking at Abrams' wikipedia page I can see a number of shows that started off looking like they'd be good stories and then screwed up the ending because they clearly didn't know what they were going to do until five minutes before they started filming.

Heck, alias did this on a per-episode basis...

Missile my ass! (0)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627858)

It was one of the screens in the planet jacker [] shell degaussing!

A good summary (5, Informative)

bosah (2117736) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627864) [] Another link on said pretty thing that reads better than the forum.

Re:A good summary (2)

xerxesVII (707232) | more than 3 years ago | (#36628332)

But did it read better than that sentence?

ICBM (2)

slshwtw (1903272) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627996)

6/22/2011 - VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A scheduled unarmed operational test Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launch occurred at 6:35 a.m. June 22 from Launch Facility-10 here

A few of the forum users came up with the likely explanation that the effect is due to an ICBM launch from Vandenberg AFB. The timestamp of the video (accounting for time zone difference) and the Eastward direction of observation correlate with this explanation.

Re:ICBM (1)

Dr Caleb (121505) | more than 3 years ago | (#36628470)

So close. Only off by 3 months!

(The original article states "22 March".)

Re:ICBM (1)

slshwtw (1903272) | more than 3 years ago | (#36628618)

The date stamp on the video is 2011-06-22. The astronomer saying it was March 22nd is probably a typo.

Re:ICBM (2)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#36629704)

Those wacky astronomers!

Now people will devote their careers hypothesizing stuff like dark energy and new particles to account for the time discrepancy.

Re:ICBM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36628622)

But the video referenced in the article shows a date stamp of 6/22. Nice try Doc, look deeper next time.

Re:ICBM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36628646)

nope according to some posts there's a mistake on the timestamp. June 22 is the correct date

Re:ICBM (1)

RubberDogBone (851604) | more than 3 years ago | (#36629228)

Operator: Sir we have a launch indication!
Supervisor: Where is it?
Operator: US
Operator: California
Operator: VAN-DEN-BERG!
Supervisor: OH !@#$ hit the red alert thingy!
Operator: I need to call my mom before I die for no reason. She worries.
James Bond: you are already dead.
James Bond: This grave is too small. I will make sure you fit in.
James Bond: Tomorrow shall not suffer the likes of you, for today, you die.

This almost but not quite entirely unlike an actual scene from the movie Moonraker. The way they say the word "VAN-DEN-BERG!" in that scene is priceless, and partly because Americans have NO idea what the hell they are talking about. Vandenberg what? Huh?

It's only non-Americans who actually know there was once a plan for an entire space port at that base. Oh well.

Re:ICBM (1)

Boronx (228853) | more than 3 years ago | (#36631200)

And anyone who live near it ... but probably none of those are Americans.

Re:ICBM (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#36633968)

Hmmm. My passport says I'm an American. My birth certificate says I'm an American. I guess both were forged.

Re:ICBM (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 3 years ago | (#36636562)

Um, it was an alternate landing location for the shuttle...who didn't know that?

Re:ICBM (1)

RubberDogBone (851604) | more than 3 years ago | (#36642526)

It was also going to be a launch location for military shuttles, which never actually happened. The movie assumed it would and added it to the story. It's nice that they did that. Those who know why probably appreciate it, and those who don't know pay it no attention.

Not that anyone looks at that movie much.

No more hatch... (2)

epte (949662) | more than 3 years ago | (#36628032)

Someone forgot to press the button.

Sonic Rainboom (1)

SPrintF (95561) | more than 3 years ago | (#36628140)

Now suddenly, I have a cutie mark. Go figure.

Re:Sonic Rainboom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36629338)

HA! Sonic Rainboom is what I immediately thought of as well. Suddenly this article is about 20% cooler!

Wouldn't it be cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36628264)

Wouldn't it be cool if it were really a missile? This is a tiny dot of condensation refracted through an adjustable lens that is using only a very small portion at the center of the lens available, magnifying the distortion of the evaporating droplet. The speed constant of the ring doesn't make sense as physical motion because it's a rate of evaporation. Come on people, life isn't this awesome. Get over it.

Re:Wouldn't it be cool (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#36629240)

It would be even cooler if people would take 2 minutes to read TFA before posting:

The event was captured by the Subaru Catwalk Night Camera and also by
CHFT's NNW webcam

Videos from both cameras are in the article.

That's a mighty big "tiny dot of condensation" if it can affect two cameras at once!

So if this was caused by a missile, does that mean that life really is this awesome!?

Stupid Question but... (0)

rikkards (98006) | more than 3 years ago | (#36628770)

Did anyone actually see this Halo but not through the webcam? If not then this artifact has as much credibility of being anything as the "orbs" on Ghost Hunters are evidence of the dearly departed

Re:Stupid Question but... (2)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630586)

All the info you need is in the summary links - yes, two astronomers saw it with their own eyes. (and night vision equipment, and obviously the two cameras in two differing locations that you don't trust)

Did no one read the email? (2)

commisaro (1007549) | more than 3 years ago | (#36629010)

The email states the effect was witnessed MARCH 22, not July 22, which is when the missile launch was scheduled.

Re:Did no one read the email? (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 3 years ago | (#36629378)

June, not July, not that it matters either way. Maybe it was another Minuteman launch in March that they forgot to mention.

Re:Did no one read the email? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36631642)

And the video tells a different month. Maybe someone needs to check their computer clocks.

Re:Did no one read the email? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36631680)

Yes, it does. But if you watch the video again and look at the time stamp, it clearly says 6-22. Most likely a typo in the email due to over excitement, too much to drink, excessively fat fingers, being locked in a dark room looking through a telescope for x number of months, take your pick. Its possible that the camera's clock was wrong, but I trust machines over humans any day.

Somebody has to say it... (1)

rgbatduke (1231380) | more than 3 years ago | (#36629880)

...and I, for one, will welcome our bug-eyed monster overlords. After all, this is obviously the light halo of an extraterrestrial FTL spaceship, not a "missile" at all...


Re:Somebody has to say it... (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630518)

couldn't a Fluorescent Tube Light spaceship also be of Terrestrial origin?

Nothing to see here (1)

dezent (952982) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630064)

This was a weather balloon flying thru some swamp gas, move along nothing to see here.

An expanding halo a friend and I saw (1)

justthinkit (954982) | more than 3 years ago | (#36642374)

Some years back, a friend and I were reclined in the backyard looking straight up. We saw a light that expanded in a circular fashion to about half the size of the full moon, then it went away just as fast. I tried to search on google to see if anyone else in the area had noticed it, but could not figure out how to type such a thing into google. To this day I do not know for sure what it was. That night we assumed it was a meteor that was burning through the atmosphere and headed straight for us, that fizzled out (and I found this disconcerting).

I was mainly curious how common this phenomenon was.
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