Friday, 18 January 2013

Moving strangely

RobinI noticed it straight away. In a scene where everything was completely still, on a windless day, something nevertheless stirred. It was a curved metal wire sticking out of the ground and gently swaying up and down, for no obvious reason. Though the wire looked as though it wouldn't take much effort to move, there were many other things nearby, like bushes and plants, that would have been even easier to move. And yet they were completely still. So why was this one object moving?

I looked around, not really expecting to discover any obvious answer. Then I saw the Robin! It was just landing on a nearby roof. Suddenly I had a perfect suspect for the mysterious moving wire. The wire gradually stopped moving. Clearly, whatever had set it in motion was no longer acting. A Robin perching on the wire and then taking off fitted the clues perfectly. Of course, I don't KNOW that the Robin caused the phenomenon but it's definitely the theory to beat. Without such a strong suspect, I'd admit I would have been left completely baffled.

I also came across a bizarre pattern in the recent snow. Before the lying snow became thick, there was one area which had almost no cover at all. This was despite there being nothing but open sky above it. The snowless patch showed the unmistakable patterns of the wind having blown away the thin snow cover. What was interesting is that this phenomenon was confined to just one area near one particular house in a street. I believe it was caused by winds being locally accelerated and funneled into a particular direction by the layout of houses nearby. This sort of thing often happens when significant obstructions to wind flow, like buildings, cause local turbulent flow. It is like the whirlpools you see in water near the banks of rivers. We can't usually appreciate these local wind effects but light fresh snow shows them up clearly.

Some UFOs are described as 'suddenly changing direction' which is seen as an indication of 'impossible' (for which read extra-terrestrial) technology. However, in the case of low altitude sky lanterns or mylar balloons, such sudden changes in direction can be caused by turbulent wind flow around large objects like buildings or trees. So, just because it suddenly changes direction, it doesn't mean your UFO can't be a sky lantern!

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