Monday, 12 October 2015

When considering lights in the sky ...

UFOI took this light in the sky photo (right) recently. It was dusk with no cloud. The foreground is a roof with chimney. The photo here is a cropped section of the original but is otherwise unaltered. Many UFO sightings are described as lights in the sky. Anyone taking this photo would, therefore, feel entitled to report it as a UFO.

So what is it? Luckily, it is one of a whole series of photos showing the same object. In most shots the light is not in the sky at all but in front of buildings or the ground! Knowing the background behind the taking of a photo is often crucial to understanding it. So here's what actually happened.

I was taking photos when I noticed a curious glowing light some of the shots. The object, initially apparently just above the ground, moved as I panned around. In fact, it clearly moved synchronously with the camera movements. It was, thus, obviously, a photographic artefact. I then deliberately panned the camera to a position that placed the glowing object in the sky. The result is the photo here.

The glowing object is actually lens flare caused by a bright streetlight in the original (uncropped) frame. Had someone taken just one photo, with the light in the sky, it might have been interpreted as a UFO. I've not come across a UFO photo that was obviously lens flare to date but that may only be because I hadn't thought it would produce a convincing UFO. But it turns out that lens flare IS something to be eliminated when considering UFO photos after all.

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