Further to the Norway spiral’s event from 2009 (see previous blog entry), a new fascinating footage related to a weird atmospheric flare has circulated on the web. This video originates from the astronomical observatory on the summit of Mauna Kea, in Hawaii, and has been filmed on the 22th of June 2011.
Mr Ichi Tanaka, a Support Astronomer of Subuaru Telescope (Hawaii) posted the video on the Starship Asterisk’s website (APOD and General Astronomy Discussion Forum), requesting the APOD readers to help clarifying the nature of this event (See forum entry at: http://asterisk.apod.com/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=24251&hilit=atmospheric+flare). “In the early morning of 22 March we, Subaru Telescope observers on the summit of Mauna Kea, noticed that there is a huge halo of light above the eastern horizon. It was slowly expanding to over 45 degrees in 5 minutes or more. The event was captured by the Subaru Catwalk Night Camera and also by CHFT’s NNW webcam….”
Similarly than in Norway, it seems that the most likely cause of that event is a Minuteman III missile launch from the Vandenberg Air Force Base (Claifornia). The footage can be seen at: http://vimeo.com/25743686
Phil Plait in his Disovery’ Bad Astronomy blog provides his theory of the event: “…a missile launches from California, and three minutes or so later the third stage releases an explosive charge which blows fuel out into space. This fuel expands in a shell, fades as it gets bigger, and appears to move across the sky as it does so. And there’s the other idea that this might be from a shock wave from the missile itself, which I cannot rule out…”
Regardless of the final explanation of this mysterious event, it must now be clear that professional amateurs won’t hesitate to share with their colleagues any ”unidentified sighting”. It is obvious to me that in this context no cover-up could take place !