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A Brain Teaser - Can YOU solve it??

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posted on Jul, 20 2018 @ 08:18 AM
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I drive due west in the mornings to go to work. The sun is usually rising directly behind me (which is awesome not to have it in my eyes). I usually leave before the sun breaks the horizon and my drive is fairly long, so I get to see it rise above the horizon from behind me.

I've long noticed that as the sun comes up it will reflect off what I believe to be houses located up in what we call the "front range" of the Rockies. So the sun will be on the horizon behind me, and there will be all these points of light in front of me. They're surprisingly bright, and they change as the sun moves. No two days are the same as the angle of the sun changes with the seasons, and some are far brighter than others. I've always equated these reflections with wealthy persons who build great big homes up in the mountains and these homes have great big picture windows to take in the view. If I were to estimate I'd guess these reflections are fully 60 to 80 miles distant from me.

During my commute(s) I usually try to find something to occupy my mind, a different subject on a different day. I guess I'm hoping I will someday have that "Eureka!!" moment and come up with some novel solution to some complex problem (or a great invention or something). It helps pass the time as I'm not much for listening to music while driving (much to my wife's dismay).

So a few weeks back I was looking at one particularly bright reflection in the mountains and I wondered what kind of a house or structure could give off such a blinding reflection. What did it look like? Then my mind switched onto trying to figure out a method to actually locate the house and go look at it. What followed was weeks of trying to figure out a method to calculate the location of the different reflections. It turns out this is a brain teaser to beat all.

Many years ago I worked as a surveyor doing land surveys, so solving problems and finding things using geometry is something I know how to do. But I've exhausted every idea I can think of to locate one of these reflections precisely. Here are some of the ideas I've thought of...

1. Have 2-3 people at 2-3 known and separated locations take compass bearings on the object, then triangulate the location onto a map. There are numerous problems with this method, most importantly someone in a location a few miles away would likely not see the same reflection but a different one. Also, how would you communicate exactly what reflection you're looking at to triangulate (so everyone was getting a bearing on the same one).

2. Calculate the exact azimuth and altitude of the sun and then calculate the possibilities of location using a process of elimination on aerial photographs. The problem with this one is, reflections are usually at oblique angles to the light source (sun in this case), so it would be nearly impossible to eliminate possibilities.

3. A combination of the above.

4. (your solution)

So why am I so fascinated with this? Well, it started as just something to occupy my mind, but the more I thought about it the more captivating it became. My quest now is to actually find one of these locations because I would like to photograph it at the same time I see the reflections 60-80 miles away. I'm confident it would make one hell of a photograph! It must look like a giant laser beam shining down into the valley below, the glare must be incredible. And, if there was even the slightest bit of haze or fog it would be very pronounced. Bottom line...I'd like to get a picture of it (plus I'd just like to answer the puzzle).

So, ATS, what would YOU do to figure out this puzzle???




posted on Jul, 20 2018 @ 08:28 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Why not try using a spotting scope to see the building or home that is reflecting the sun? Then use a camera on the scope to take a picture. Then using Google maps try to locate the building or house from the picture that you took with the scope. Just an idea.

FYI...these type of thoughts keep me up at night.
edit on 20-7-2018 by JFA13 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 20 2018 @ 08:32 AM
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Google Earth. I love trying to find locations with it. If someone post a picture with a stationary object in the background like a water tower etc. I'll spend hours trying to find it. Better then any puzzle, at least to me. a reply to: Flyingclaydisk



posted on Jul, 20 2018 @ 08:36 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk


Ask Siri?



posted on Jul, 20 2018 @ 08:41 AM
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Get a friend 2-3 miles away, and get your exact GPS coordinates, and degrees to the reflection. Call friend, have them plot a line of you to object. Have them look for something on that line, and take their realtive position. Then use something like google earth to search the area.

Basic MS Paint Image of my idea



posted on Jul, 20 2018 @ 08:42 AM
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I'd use Google Earth. You know where you're at on the highway, so going from Streetview to Bird's Eye will be a cinch.

And are you certain it's homes and not a solar farm? They can reflect light like nobody's business.



posted on Jul, 20 2018 @ 08:45 AM
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a reply to: AugustusMasonicus

Siri would BLOW UP!



posted on Jul, 20 2018 @ 08:46 AM
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originally posted by: Nyiah
I'd use Google Earth. You know where you're at on the highway, so going from Streetview to Bird's Eye will be a cinch.

And are you certain it's homes and not a solar farm? They can reflect light like nobody's business.


Used to hike in the dessert. On a clear day, you could see the glint on a piece of quartz/glass/mirror/etc miles away. I was thinking maybe trash, old jar, etc.



posted on Jul, 20 2018 @ 08:47 AM
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a reply to: Brywilson2

Right, but that is idea number 1 (above). The problem is, someone 2-3 miles away would likely not see the same reflection at the same time. They might see the same reflection at some point, but it would be at a different time.

So, how would you conclusively agree you were both looking at the same object?



posted on Jul, 20 2018 @ 08:54 AM
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a reply to: spit69

Yes, but you'd have to be able to:

A. extrapolate your exact position onto the Google map

B. compensate for the angle of the satellite image (they're not directly overhead)

C. calculate altitude from the observation level (something you can't do on Google Earth)

D. then compare calculated azimuth and altitude to observed azimuth and altitude and then overlay that over Google.

E. AND...we can't forget to factor in the curvature of the Earth over that distance too. 80 miles is nearly (7) horizons away at sea-level

I know, it just makes a person crazy trying to figure this one out. It's great...because it's about the only thing I've ever run across which is damn near impossible!


edit on 7/20/2018 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 20 2018 @ 09:05 AM
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So, just some follow up data / thoughts...

I have full survey equipment, so I could probably get a pretty precise azimuth and elevation.

I have an accurized GPS, so I could probably get a pretty good lat / long fix

But the distance is way too far for any DME gear (laser rangefinding, etc.)

The distance could be calculated (fairly closely) only IF two separate locations could agree on it being the same object (not easy, trust me). AND, only if those two points could accurately swing an angle to each other from the same object. (Plus, the more oblique the angle from the observed object to the observing points the bigger the error factor. In other words, the further apart the two observing points are the better the accuracy of the distance).

BTW, someone mentioned a spotting scope. Already tried this, and it's way too far to see any detail. It just looks like a little bit larger bright object. We're talking 60-80 miles here, not just a few hundred meters.
edit on 7/20/2018 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 20 2018 @ 09:20 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Try a telescope then? your image will be upside down but you should be able to get good detail.



posted on Jul, 20 2018 @ 09:32 AM
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a reply to: JFA13

Haven't tried that.

Might be worth a try. (except for I don't have a telescope. Of all the crap I've got a telescope is not among them)



posted on Jul, 20 2018 @ 09:35 AM
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So in amateur radio (i.e. HAM) they have this thing called a "fox hunt" where people try to find someone based on triangulation and signal strength.

Wouldn't it be cool if we could get a bunch of ATS'ers together, and pool their resources, to try something kinda similar and actually locate one of these objects?

(I'm probably a DORK for thinking this would be fun, I know).
edit on 7/20/2018 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 20 2018 @ 09:37 AM
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I'd like a reference point, so a dead on, centered shot of the reflection first, and then, a nice google map location of where the picture was taken from. I'll just.. take it from there.

It'll give me something to do while watching kid with 2 weeks before school.



posted on Jul, 20 2018 @ 09:42 AM
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a reply to: wylekat

Let me see what I can do. Won't be able to do it today because the sun is already up, but maybe tomorrow I can get a photograph and some GPS coordinates of where the photo was taken from. I should also be able to get a pretty good elevation reading too.

Is that what you are requesting?

Let me go out to Google right now and see if I can find the approximate location / area of where I believe the structures are to give you (and anyone else) an idea of what we're dealing with here. ...

ETA...

Here is the general area where I believe the reflections originate

Reflections

And here is the approximate observation point (which according to Google is ~55 miles east)

Observation point example

Keep in mind though, the structures reflecting the sunlight change as the seasons change so the reflection locations move north and south as the sun starts rising more southerly.
edit on 7/20/2018 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 20 2018 @ 10:10 AM
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originally posted by: Flyingclaydisk
So in amateur radio (i.e. HAM) they have this thing called a "fox hunt" where people try to find someone based on triangulation and signal strength.

Wouldn't it be cool if we could get a bunch of ATS'ers together, and pool their resources, to try something kinda similar and actually locate one of these objects?

(I'm probably a DORK for thinking this would be fun, I know).


This sounds like fun to me! Im with Wylekat! I would love to give this a go!



posted on Jul, 20 2018 @ 10:43 AM
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a reply to: Nyiah

I'm not certain it's from homes exactly (that's just my theory), but I don't think it's solar arrays because solar arrays generally face southerly and these reflections are back directly due east meaning whatever the reflective surface is, is facing due east or very close to it.

Solar arrays definitely reflect blinding amounts of light so they certainly have the possibility to be shine a reflection as intense as the ones I see, but my theory is the reflections they would give off would only be visible from the south, not the east. Now, there are solar arrays which move with the sun, but you don't see a lot of these in the mountains because of their high-maintenance especially in high wind and deep snow conditions. Most of them are stationary on rooftops.

ETA...good thought though! This is all part of the enigma. What is it exactly that are causing these brilliant reflections? Inquiring minds are just dying to know!!


edit on 7/20/2018 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 20 2018 @ 10:59 AM
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Just to put all this into perspective, try this simple experiment...

Place a mirror in a vertical position in the middle of your living room wall (oriented vertically). Now have a person (person "A") stand in the corner at the other end of the living room and shine a flashlight into the mirror. Have a second person (B) stand in the same end at the other corner of the living room move around (and up and down) until they can see the reflection of the flashlight in the mirror. You'll notice three things right away:

1. Person B has to move around quite a bit to even see the reflection at all in the first place.

2. Once person B sees the reflection they don't have to move very much at all before they lose sight of the reflection.

3. Person B will have to move around a lot more vertically than you expect to acquire the reflection (in fact, they may even need a ladder)

I estimate that these reflections are originating roughly 3,000+ feet vertically ABOVE the observation point (with the sun directly behind the observer) (i.e. casting a long shadow directly in the direction of the reflection), and 60 miles away.

Objective - Find the mirror.

Hopefully, this example kind of puts this challenge into perspective.
edit on 7/20/2018 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 20 2018 @ 11:08 AM
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Dead reckoning scope it

Curious....North or South of I 70 cut?
edit on 20-7-2018 by GBP/JPY because: (no reason given)




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