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The Oldfield UFO Film - Evidence that some UFOs are mirages

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posted on Aug, 27 2009 @ 07:23 PM
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reply to post by Arbitrageur
 



Regarding how bright it was outside, I found that the sunset occurred in Fairbanks (near the "mothership") between 2-3PM local time on December 21, the shortest day of the year. I never was able to find the time of sunset on the date of the JL1628 sighting, let me know if you find it.


Well, the simulator also makes realistic weather, so the sunset is accurate. The problem is that while I was flying, I could still see the sun. That raises the issue of illumination. If you cover the source of the light, the brightness you see comes from the objects that "absorve"/reflect that light, right? like when you're driving (again, lol) and you cover the sun with your hand, but all around you still shines.

I'm going to confirm that tomorrow (it's getting late) in the simulator, maybe I putted something wrong on the specifications.


But I don't have to tell you the pilots may see more light in the sky than the ground time for sunset might indicate.


Yes. That's why even a plane that is travelling 10,000ft below you could not be affected by the light the same way you do.

As a demonstration about the Earth's shape:

In WW2 the U-boats were scouting for ships, in clear weather. If you raised the scope a little bit you could see the smoke from the ship.

If you raised the scope 5 meters, you could see the top of the ship.

If you would decrease you depth, you would see half of the ship, and if you surfaced, you could see the ship.

That's how much the Earth's shape and your height influences your sight over distances.

[edit on 27/8/09 by Tifozi]




posted on Aug, 27 2009 @ 08:03 PM
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reply to post by Tifozi
 


OK thanks Tifozi!

I haven't been able to find a photo of the Allen army airfield at night, but I did run across an airfield photo that reminded me of one of Cpt. Terauchi's drawings so I posted it below.

Does anyone besides me see the slightest resemblance between these lights and the pilots drawings? Not an exact match certainly but some similar characteristics with long strings of horizontal lights just like the captain drew.





Tifozi I read that the larger airports generally have center lights, but the smaller airports generally don't, is that true?

If I take all the center lights out of that picture, it starts to look a little more like the drawing, but still not an exact match.

Or do we know if PABI even has any approach lights like that?

Captain's drawing borrowed from Internos' thread, thanks Internos!



[edit on 28-8-2009 by Arbitrageur]



posted on Aug, 27 2009 @ 11:29 PM
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Here's an interesting photo of a mirage:

www.polarimage.fi...


I circled the white area because it's apparently a reflection of some kind of white area on the ground, that I can barely even see from this vantage point!

If you imagine a reflection like this of a runway at dusk, the runway lights will be much brighter than the surrounding area.

So even though the reflection would include the bright runway lights and the surrounding darker area, the surrounding darker area would not be visible against the dark background, hence you would then see some airport lights suspended in the sky.

Every pilot knows there are no airports in the sky, so what else could it be? A spaceship perhaps? It sure as heck can't be a runway at 33,000 feet altitude, right? I think the pilot would rule out that possibility immediately, and who could blame him? But he may not be correct in ruling out that possibility.

I think this photo may be showing us some distortion and possibly magnification of some extremely distant ground based images, but in any case we can clearly see a large white object in the sky that doesn't show up too well on the horizon.

Now think about the temperature inversion over Alaska and use your imagination a little bit looking while looking at this photo.

If the pilot does see runway lights suspended at 33,000 feet in conditions like these, it's probably not something which he frequently experiences , and in fact he may have never seen anything like it before.

A few of my observations:

1. We have a temperature inversion which might cause a mirage.
2. All the pilot's sightings of light appear to be in the direction of an airport.
3. The pilots drawings bear an uncanny resemblance to airport lights, if you allow for the distortions a mirage will produce. (except for the mothership which looks like a big cloud and we have a picture of a big cloud right where he saw the mothership).
4. The pilot is not expecting to see runway lights in the sky, plus they are distorted to make it even more difficult to recognize them as such. Therefore he is understandably unable to identify them as airport lights.

Food for thought! Enjoy the photo!






[edit on 27-8-2009 by Arbitrageur]



posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 05:52 AM
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Arbitrageur, Kandinsky & Tifozi.....

I must commend you for such a fascinating debate regarding this most interesting of UFO cases.

Such work will keep ATS strong.




posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 08:24 AM
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reply to post by Sam60
 


Don't forget about Internos and all the other people that made contributions to this debate. I'm looking forward to read the internos opinion about all of the new data that has been posted.



posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 11:17 AM
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reply to post by Arbitrageur
 


Arby, your image posted here made me recall another mirage I saw a few years back, where an entire city in China was reflected out over the ocean. I did some quick digging and found an image for you:



Here is the source of the image:
english.cri.cn...@85556.htm

Edited to add URL without the http://...
Link doesn't want to post with the @ sign in it...
english.cri.cn/811/2006/05/07/421@85556.htm


It's amazing how much detail can be reflected in a mirage, given the right conditions. I'm still not entirely convinced that's what we're seeing in the JAL flight, but after seeing mirages like the city here, I really can't rule it out either!

-WFA

[edit on 28-8-2009 by WitnessFromAfar]



posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 12:27 PM
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reply to post by Arbitrageur
 


I think Mr. Campbell is looking for a UFO "theory of everything" but has missed the mark. The best natural explanation for Mantell is the weather balloon explanation. The altitude and speed of the object was consistent with that. One way or the other, but not a mirage.

Trindade is a mirage of Jupiter? If that's the case, we should have many pictures that are similar. Where are they? The planets in the sky are basically the size of stars. How does a mirage magnify an object to such an extent? Campbell says there can be magnification, but his explanation for Trindade strains credibility without similar photographic evidence to back up his claims.



posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 07:34 PM
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Originally posted by Tifozi
reply to post by Sam60
 


Don't forget about Internos and all the other people that made contributions to this debate. I'm looking forward to read the internos opinion about all of the new data that has been posted.


Absolutely


You too, Internos



posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 07:59 PM
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reply to post by Arbitrageur
 



Tifozi I read that the larger airports generally have center lights, but the smaller airports generally don't, is that true?

If I take all the center lights out of that picture, it starts to look a little more like the drawing, but still not an exact match.

Or do we know if PABI even has any approach lights like that?


Yes. Sadly it's more based in funding than it is on necessity, but it works more or less like that.

In small runways you need to see the edges, and you can align you airplane, so center lights aren't always needed, although many have them.

In bigger runways, since they are wide, you need to have a better visualization of the runway, so you have much more signals from lights than what would be normal. You have center lights so you can align perfectly with the center.

Can you imagine guessing were you are actually putting your plane with a "big boy" like a 747? You need those aux lights.

The touchpoint lights are those that you posted as an example. They are outside of the runway and in some cases they make triangle shappes in the runway to show you the start of the "good" runway.

Approach lights are more usual in carriers and military airfields, since many military aircraft don't have the automated computers like airliners do.

So you need those kind of visual systems to land. It's pretty simple actually, but extremly effective, and carrier landings crashes, for example, since the introduction of those lights dropped around 90% I believe.


So even though the reflection would include the bright runway lights and the surrounding darker area, the surrounding darker area would not be visible against the dark background, hence you would then see some airport lights suspended in the sky.


There is a problem with those mirages that you presented. They appear from far away and they reflect what is below them, but you still see them over a distance.

I don't know (and maybe some of you can actually find out that better than me) to which point it's possible for a mirage to project itself so far away, and in front of the line of sight of the plane.


If the pilot does see runway lights suspended at 33,000 feet in conditions like these, it's probably not something which he frequently experiences , and in fact he may have never seen anything like it before.


Exactly. Even though I still it's possible it was in fact some sort of spaceship (I've been talking to some of my "close" cpt's, and heard some fubar stories), that's one of the main scenarios that I put up as being possible.

Like I said previously, pilots are bad witnesses for airplane crashes, because we are experts in that area and know a lot of possibilities, which can lead you the wrong way. I think it's possible that the Cpt had some type of auto-assumption, and automaticly rulled out a mundane explanation because it didn't look anything like he ever seen.

When we're flying, and we have some problem or situation, if it doesn't immediatly fit on our know scenarios, we start looking for OTHER explanations. It's possible that this happened in JAL1628.

But I must still enforce that are a lot of details that bug my mind on this case.


[edit on 28/8/09 by Tifozi]



posted on Aug, 29 2009 @ 08:46 PM
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Originally posted by Tifozi
reply to post by Sam60
 


Don't forget about Internos and all the other people that made contributions to this debate. I'm looking forward to read the internos opinion about all of the new data that has been posted.


Yes, Internos' thread is excellent and I used his links for a lot of my research! I haven't seen him post since I posted my more detailed analysis so I'm a little curious about what he thinks now, but I think he's pretty convinced the radar contacts are real, though for the life of me I can't understand why when even the FAA says they aren't.

reply to post by fls13
 

Fls13 I couldn't agree more! I also think a weather balloon is the best natural explanation for the Mantell case, their description of the object as looking like an umbrella seems like almost an exact match for a weather balloon if you consider various lighting conditions which would make the top (the top of the umbrella) more visible than the relatively darker underside.

I also wonder if Cpt Terauchi's comment about the Mantell case might be part of what got him relieved of duty after this incident. I think he was fit to fly but his employer apparently didn't, and he should have kept his mouth shut about Mantell and just stated the facts he observed, IMO.

As for the Trinidad case, I'm undecided about that one, I must admit the photo has a somewhat mirage-like appearance (I've looked at hundreds of photos of mirages this week), but I'm not sure that is consistent with all the facts of the case.

I should make it clear that I'm NOT a follower of Steuart Campbell, or anyone else for that matter. For one thing, the guy apparently thinks he can explain all UFOs and that simply seems impossible from what I've seen.

I think every case has to be evaluated on its own merits, and I do think there's a lot of data to support his interpretation of the JL1628 and the Kenneth Arnold cases. So after examining the data, I think he happened to be right on those two cases, but in general I am just as skeptical of his interpretations as I am of anyone's interpretations. For the JL1628 case I had to plot the directions of the light sightings on a map to see if they really were all pointing to a fixed location as he claimed. As it turned out, they were, and then his explanation started to gain some credibility with me.

But just because mirages might explain a few cases, doesn't mean there aren't some very good cases that can't possibly be explained by mirages. When you plot the track of the direction of a sightings on a map, and the direction of the object appears to move, then you don't have a mirage (at least not of a stationary ground-based object, though it could be a mirage of a moving object). But when you plot the directions of sightings on a map and they all point to the same location, you have to consider the mirage possibility even if (especially if) a pilot tells you "The object moved in the same direction and at the same speed as us", that's a big possible mirage clue right there.

[edit on 30-8-2009 by Arbitrageur]



posted on Aug, 29 2009 @ 08:54 PM
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Originally posted by Tifozi
Well, the simulator also makes realistic weather, so the sunset is accurate. The problem is that while I was flying, I could still see the sun. That raises the issue of illumination.

Regarding whether you could see the sun or not, the captain gave this description according to Dr. Maccabee:

brumac.8k.com...


The press release could have mentioned, but did not, that Terauchi did report seeing numerous stars in the sky, city lights and a glow of sunset in the west.


So what does "glow of sunset" mean? My interpretation is that he can't see the sun so it's just below the horizon from his perspective, but it's open for interpretation I guess.
Here's the sunset times I found, I guess we could interpolate for a guess but again that gives us the ground sunset, not at altitude.




Originally posted by Tifozi

So even though the reflection would include the bright runway lights and the surrounding darker area, the surrounding darker area would not be visible against the dark background, hence you would then see some airport lights suspended in the sky.


There is a problem with those mirages that you presented. They appear from far away and they reflect what is below them, but you still see them over a distance.

I don't know (and maybe some of you can actually find out that better than me) to which point it's possible for a mirage to project itself so far away, and in front of the line of sight of the plane.


Good question, I've been doing some research to try to answer it. I have a good understanding of physics including optical physics, but I have a lot to learn about meteorological conditions, especially in polar regions. I've found that especially in the Winter (I think November is close enough to be considered for some winter-like conditions) some amazing effects can occur in polar meteorology, especially with regard to temperature inversions.

I found some information about the Tanana Valley which is north of the Alaska Range and includes Fairbanks (which JL1628 flew over when it made the 360 degree turn).

Here's the Google Earth map showing the Alaska range and the Tanana valley above it:



I used this to make my simplified map and didn't show it before because it looks cluttered, but it's relevant to show now to highlight the terrain of the Alaska Range, and the Tanana Valley above it. At the bottom you can see the white colored Alaska range mountains. Fairbanks is the largest city in the Tanana Valley.

en.wikipedia.org...
Wikipedia gives-Tanana Valley coordinates as 64.4N 147W but the valley is HUGE!

The Tanana Valley is a lowland region in central Alaska in the United States, on the north side of the Alaska Range where the Tanana River emerges from the mountains.

Here is a panoramic picture of it:



There is a story by the university of Alaska about mirages there, here: info.alaska.edu...
but that link didn't work so I put it in the wayback machine:
web.archive.org...*/info.alaska.edu...



Please note several things:

1. Look at the HUGE size!!!!!!!! "this one filled the whole valley, which is approximately 500 miles wide and 120 miles across" The Tanana valley must be capable of HUGE inversions to get such a huge mirage. We are only talking about half that 500 miles for the JL1628 flight for the initial sighting that may have been about 220 miles away.

2. Note the unstable appearance of the mirage, some "dancing around of the images, if you will, similar to what the JL1628 reported:

The inducement of the Superior Mirage by a thermal inversion over Tanana Valley was phenomenal. Every few minutes the mirages would change shape and size like an undulating wave. The hills in every direction were changing dimensions from hourglass structures to just a lid on top of them.


Now think about this, if the mirage is undulating as observed by a stationary ground observer, then how much moreso will a mirage undulate as seen by a jet traveling hundreds of miles an hour? Changes in a mirage that take minutes to appear for a stationary observer could appear in seconds for an observer moving that fast. So I think we can eliminate the theory that mirage images don't move, I expect they can dance around just as described by the JL1628 crew if the conditions are right.

In polar regions, say, above 60 degrees latitude, there are a number of amazing mirage effects possible. Here's one you probably can't program into Flight Simulator X: Put your plane on the tarmac at allen army airfield, then enter the time so the sun is 5 degrees below the horizon, and then, look at the sun! That's impossible right? In polar regions, it's NOT impossible. Images can travel for HUNDREDS OF MILES through the atmosphere in the sometimes complex and significant temperature inversions that can occur in polar regions:

www.islandnet.com...


Several variations of the superior mirage are quite spectacular sights and have been given their own names: the arctic mirage or hillingar effect, the Fata Morgana, the Fata Bromosa and the Novaya Zemlya mirage.
(snip)
The Arctic Mirage

Since superior mirages are caused by cold air lying beneath relatively warmer air, they are most common and strongest in the Earth's polar regions where the surface is covered by ice or snow or cold seas for most of the year. The arctic mirage is a term that has been applied to superior mirages in northern polar latitudes, particularly when the conditions alter the appearance of the earth's horizon to allow us to see objects that actually are located well beyond or below the geometric horizon.


continued.....

[edit on 29-8-2009 by Arbitrageur]



posted on Aug, 29 2009 @ 08:56 PM
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www.islandnet.com...

The Novaya Zemlya Mirage

In the winter of 1596, a ship under the command of Willem Barents in search for the Northeast Passage to Asia was ice-bound off the north coast of the Russian arctic island of Novaya Zemlya (latitude 76 degrees North). Barents and his officers were astonished one day in early March to see a distorted sun appear for a short time above the horizon. They had not expected to see the breaking of the long arctic night at this latitude for another few weeks. Yet, there it appeared, approximately 5 degrees of arc higher than its actual position.

Because such mirages were rarely seen by Europeans, Barents' reports were not taken seriously by scientists of his time. Indeed, his observations were not confirmed for over three centuries when, in 1915 and half a world away, Sir Ernest Shackleton briefly observed a distorted sun suddenly visible over the horizon seven days after it had set for the Antarctic winter night.

The Novaya Zemlya mirage requires the sun's rays to travel within an inversion layer for hundreds of kilometres. The layer must have just the right temperature gradient so that the light more or less continuously bends with the curvature of the Earth over that long distance -- 400 km (250 miles) for a 5 degree elevation rise according to calculations by W.H. Lehn -- to allow a sighting of the sun's disk.

With many permanent or long-term scientific settlements in polar regions established over the last fifty years, the Novaya Zemlya mirage has been more frequently observed and even photographed.


Given all we know about atmospheric effects in polar regions, they can have bizarre visual effects. However, I still think we have a lot to learn about them which may be why the experts were not so quick to jump on to this explanation. However if you accept the FAA conclusion that they had explanations for the radar returns other than another object in the sky (and I believe they are correct) then you're only left with a few other options. Was the crew imagining things? No of course not, they all saw lights, but only the captain saw the spookily illuminated cloud,as Bruce Maccabee suggests here:
brumac.8k.com...

perhaps what the captain saw was a reflection of ground lights off the object and thus was able to see its outline silouetted against a dark background
for an optical physicist, I'd say that's a pretty good guess and I would have to say my thinking is that's probably what the captain saw. And while Dr Maccabee didn't refer to it as a cloud, we do have a picture of a cloud I don't think he had when he wrote that. The cloud was at the captain's 9:00 when it would have been aligned with and perhaps illuminated by the airport lights, so I think that's why the other crew members couldn't see it.

Dr Maccabee also had this to say:

www.physicsforums.com...

Personally I think that the initial sighting of two objects in front of the plane, seen by the whole crew, is a "strong" UFO event. However the "silhouette of a gigantic spaceship" by the captain alone is a "weak" UFO event. Too bad the crew didn't speak English better.


From what he has said about the mothership, I get the impression he wouldn't be too surprised if there's a natural explanation for it, he thinks the lights are more interesting.

[edit on 29-8-2009 by Arbitrageur]



posted on Aug, 29 2009 @ 09:22 PM
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Originally posted by Tifozi
reply to post by Sam60
 


Don't forget about Internos and all the other people that made contributions to this debate. I'm looking forward to read the internos opinion about all of the new data that has been posted.


An humble thank you for your nice words by me, but a HUGE thank you from ATS for the incredible work you have been able to do over this case together with Arbitrageur. And also a special thanks goes to Kandinsky and of course to all the others who contributed to this thread.
What can i say? I'm AMAZED by what YOU and Arbitrageur are doing: if someone would claim that he/she didn't learn anything new from THIS thread then he's either a liar or some hardcore ignorant.
You, Tifozi, have been able to bring a more REAL perspective, i mean not only the visual one (which is impressive), but also gave to us the real level of perceptions of some guy being inside a Cockpit in these circumstances: you gave the three dimensions to a case that until yesterday was a flat series of dots for me: KUDOS mate.

And you, Arbitrageur: you have been able to show that not all what we see or believe to see is actually there, there are at least three posts by you in this thread that would deserve be some mandatory reading in my humble opinion. To put on the table so many facets of visual phenomena in the way you did, can just help, even if many believers will suffer because of that; the credibility and the quality of your work are second to no one, and i wish to ATS to get MORE members like YOU and Tifozi. This is some top class thread and i'm proud to have given my humble contribute to it: KUDOS

- internos



[edit on 30/8/2009 by internos]



posted on Aug, 30 2009 @ 03:27 PM
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Post deleted/// I answered my questions myself


[edit on 30-8-2009 by Europa733]



posted on Sep, 30 2009 @ 12:13 AM
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reply to post by internos
 


Thanks for the kind words Internos and I'm equally impressed with your excellent thread on the JL1628 topic. You've done more than I have on this case and other cases too, and I very much appreciate your contribution to all the great information on ATS!

To Everyone:
I have a few more observations about the heat on Capt. Terauchi's face since that seems to be a big sticking point for some people to rule out the mirage theory, and then I'll mention the photo.

First, let's review what Dr. Maccabee said:


Originally posted by Arbitrageur
www.physicsforums.com...

Personally I think that the initial sighting of two objects in front of the plane, seen by the whole crew, is a "strong" UFO event. However the "silhouette of a gigantic spaceship" by the captain alone is a "weak" UFO event.

My take is that part of the reason he thinks the lights have more credibility than the gigantic spaceship is that all 3 crew members saw the lights but only the captain saw the giant ship.

Now if we extend this logic to heat on the face observation, can we draw a similar analogy? If Terauchi felt heat shouldn't at least one other crew member have also felt that heat, at least the co-pilot right? The reason I didn't post this earlier is I wanted to search more for the other crew's testimony but I still haven't found any account of the other crew members reporting heat on their face. If they had, that would be significant. If you know they did report that please help me find the account that says so.

Now there's another piece of evidence to suggest maybe the lights were not as bright nor intense as suggested by the "heat" comment.

brumac.8k.com...


THE captain recalled the attempt at photographing the lights as follows
2)

"I thought perhaps it is one of those things called UFO and taking a photo might help to identify the object later. I asked to bring forward my camera bag that was placed in the rear of the cockpit and began to take a picture. The area in which the plane was flying was unchanged but the lights were still moving strangely. I had ASA 100 film in my camera but the lens kept adjusting and never could set a focus. I changed auto-focus to manual focus and pressed the shutter but this time the shutter would not close.


You photography buffs will know what that means but for you non-experts, when the shutter won't close, it typically means there isn't enough light.

ASA100 is daytime film and he was trying to shoot at night so that was a problem, but if the lights were really bright, the camera's shutter should have been able to close even using ASA100 film.

So one possible implication of this, is that the lights weren't all that bright, at least when he tried to take the photo.

The other interesting thing is, that if he tried to take a picture, and the shutter didn't close, he could have put his hand over the lens, put the camera back in its case, and tried to develop the film anyway. The image might have been underexposed but at least we would have had some photograph to look at, and with technology available to enhance the photo we might be able to tell a lot.

So, don't you have to wonder if he ever developed that film, and if so, if anything came out on it? It was probably either too dark or too blurry if anything showed up or else I expect we would have seen the photo that Capt. Terauchi took. But at least he tried to take the photo. I only wish we could see it!



posted on Feb, 18 2010 @ 09:08 AM
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Just to being this to attention.

If pilots were experiencing mirages in a reasonably often fashion, surely there would be more mention of it by them and it would be included in their training.

Since I've yet to hear of such training it may be worthy of note that perhaps mirages are not all that common and may not account for all of these supposed sightings.

Not to say I believe that UFOs are alien or otherwise, just to state that there doesn't appear to be too much by way of evidence for all these sightings being mirages.

-m0r



posted on Feb, 18 2010 @ 11:37 AM
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Originally posted by m0r1arty
Just to being this to attention.

If pilots were experiencing mirages in a reasonably often fashion, surely there would be more mention of it by them and it would be included in their training.

Since I've yet to hear of such training it may be worthy of note that perhaps mirages are not all that common and may not account for all of these supposed sightings.


Temperature inversions are extremely common but the frequency of inversions depends on many factors, especially geographic location. The Condon report contains graphs showing the percentage of times that temperature inversions are present close to the ground in the continental USA:

www.project1947.com...

The graphs are more or less illegible but I think I can read them in spite of that, but if anyone has the original graphs please let me know. Look at the winter map first (I enlarged it on my image processor). There are only 2 circles on the map, one in the west and one in the East. I think the cuircle in the west says 55 on top, which means 55% of the time, there is a temperature inversion inside of that circle in the winter. The percentage goes down 5% I think for each line outside that so some areas in the US there is only an inversion 10% of the time, but that's still a lot if you consider that's 36 days out of a 365 day year, or over a solid month even at the lowest frequencies.

In the summertime it looks like that circle in the west peaks out at 40%, because you can almost read the 10% and 15% lines in the southeast corner of texas and count up from there to the 40%. On the east coast, again in Western NC there is a circle that appears to be 45%, or almost half the time.

From eyeballing these graphs I'd say a nationwide average for the continental US summer and winter might be in the ballpark of around 25%. This could be 1 of every 4 days but might actually be more like 6 out of every 24 hours in some cases if the thermal gradient changes throughout the course of the day. That's amazingly common, right?

These graphs include inversions close to the ground. Inversions are most frequent and pronounced closer to the ground so any related optical effects would be more apparent to ground observers. The inversions can and do occur at higher altitudes, but the thermal gradients can be less steep. But if you add to this the thermal inversions which occur further from the ground (above 150 meters) the percentages will be even higher!

Also this data covers all inversions, and not every inversion can cause mirages, so that's why mirages aren't seen at the frequency of temperature inversions.

In the case of polar regions (Like the JAL1628 flight) the inversions are especially common, and especially in the winter.

The Condon report actually did a good survey of the topic of optical mirages, if you are really interested I suggest you read the whole thing, but I'll highlight a few points here:

Optical Mirage


Introduction

An optical mirage is a phenomenon associated with the refraction of light in the gaseous (cloud-free) atmosphere. During mirage a visible image of some distant object is made to appear displaced from the true position of the object. The image is produced when the light energy emanating from the distant source travels along a curvilinear instead of a rectilinear path, the curvilinear path, in turn, arises from abnormal spatial variations in density that are invariably associated with abnormal temperature gradients.

The visible image of the mirage can represent shape and color of the "mirrored" object either exactly or distorted. Distortions most commonly consist of an exaggerated elongation, an exaggerated broadening, or a complete or partial inversion of the object shape. Frequently, mirages involve multiple images of a single source. Under special conditions, refractive separation of the color components of white light can enhance the observation of a mirage. Atmospheric scintillation can introduce rapid variations in position, brightness, and color variations of the image.

When both the observer and the source are stationary, a mirage can be observed for several hours. However, when either one or both are in motion, a mirage image may appear for a duration of only seconds or minutes.

Although men have observed mirages since the beginning of recorded history, extensive studies of the phenomenon did not begin till the last part of the 18th century. Since that time, however, a large volume of literature has become available from which emerges a clear picture of the nature of the mirage.

The comprehensive body of information presented here is based on a survey of the literature, and constitutes the state-of-the-art knowledge on optical mirages. The report provides a ready source of up-to-date information that can be applied to problems involving optical mirages.

In essence, the literature survey yields the following principal characteristics of the mirage:

1. Mirages are associated with anomalous temperature gradients in the atmosphere.

2. Mirage images are observed almost exclusively at small angles above or below the horizontal plane of view; mirages, therefore, require terrain and meteorological conditions that provide extended horizontal visibility.

3. A mirage can involve the simultaneous occurrence of more than one image of the "mirrored" object; the images can have grossly distorted forms and unusual coloring.

4. Extreme brightening and apparent rapid movement of the mirage image in and near the horizontal plane can result from the effects of focussing and interference of wavefronts in selected areas of the refracting layer.


While there is a lot of literature about mirages, much of it seems to be technical and not necessarily ready to plop in a pilot's lap so they can digest what it means to them:


Because of the wide range of aspects covered, the literature is listed in the following categories:

1. papers on optical mirage the contents of which are mostly descriptive,

2. papers that propose theoretical models of spheric refraction or optical mirage,

3. papers that compare theory and observation,

4. papers that are concerned with the application of terrestrial light refraction to meteorology, surveying, and hydrography,

5. papers that present average values of terrestrial refraction based on climatology, and

6. papers on atmospheric scintillation.


Then look at section F: Meteorological Conditions Conducive to the Formation of Mirages , that's where the graphs come from showing the frequency of temperature inversions.

Now page 1052 may touch on a partial answer to your question:


Evaluation of the State-of-the-Art Knowledge

During the last decade, active interest in optical mirage appears to have waned. The reasons for the apparent decline are believed to be two-fold. Firstly, on the basis of simple ray-tracing techniques, the mirage theories satisfactorily explain the various large-scale aspects of observations. Thus no disturbing contradictions between theory and observation have been found. Secondly, although atmospheric refraction remains of great interest to astronomy, optical communication, and optical ranging, the phenomenon of the mirage has so far failed to demonstrate a major use.


If you look at the optical phenomenon as a flight hazard, it doesn't seem to be much of a concern, so that may be one reason why pilots don't get more mirage training. The optical effect at Guernsey which I mentioned early in the thread, and the JAL1628 mirage didn't pose any risk to the flights (actually the course diversion JAL1628 requested was to avoid the cloud and not the mirage). So I suspect that may be one reason it's not a priority for training pilots.

Another reason is that pilots just don't see mirages as often as ground observers do for the reasons I mentioned earlier. Mirages visible from the ground should be fairly common, but visible from the air less common. And some conditions may be downright freakish. Maybe the conditions that JL1628 experienced only happen once every few decades. Or maybe it happens more often but the other crews that see it have enough sense to keep their mouth shut, especially since the JL1628 captain was forced to stop flying after his report, until he finally got reinstated. But in the research I've done it seems like the most dramatic optical effects are in the polar regions, like the JAL1628 event.

Those are my thoughts, maybe some pilots could comment on how much training on mirages they got if any, and their thoughts on why they don't get more.



posted on Feb, 18 2010 @ 11:51 AM
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reply to post by m0r1arty
 

By the way while I researched that pilot training question, I found some more information on the Washington case that you might want to read since I didn't go into as much depth on that as I did on JL1628:

A PRELIMINARY Study of Unidentified Targets Observed on Air Traffic Control Radars

They pretty much confirm what I was saying about inversions causing both visual and radar reflections:


Examination of the logs of the Washington ARTC Center indicates that there is considerable correlation between the appearance of unidentified targets on the radar scope and the receipt of numerous visual reports of flying saucers. It should be noted that abrupt temperature inversions aloft can refract light in much the same way as radar waves and produce mirage effects. In a standard reference work on meteorology. [3] Humphreys reports that a temperature inversion (near the surface) of 1 deg. C per meter bends down a light ray into an arc whose radius is 0.16 that of the earth; an inversion of 10 deg. C per meter gives an arc radius of 0.016 that of the earth, or approximately 60 miles. This effect makes it possible for an observer to see in the sky the sun or some other bright light that is actually well below the observer's horizon. On rare occasions, multiple images of the same object may be visible. It is believed that many visual sightings of flying saucers can be explained by this phenomenon.

CONCLUSIONS

1. It is believed that most of the unidentified targets observed on the Washington MEW radar during the period beginning on the night of August 13, 1952 and the period beginning on the night of August 15, 1952 were ground returns caused by reflection phenomena closely connected with the temperature inversions in the lower atmosphere.
2. Unidentified radar targets of the type described in this report have been noticed since the early days of radar. Unusual weather conditions prevailing in the Washington area during the summer of 1952 were exceptionally conducive to the formation of these phenomena.
3. Present evidence indicates that the appearance of unidentified targets of this nature on radar scopes has but little effect on the control of air traffic. At its worst, it forms a nuisance by cluttering the scope display and by requiring that additional traffic information or heading instructions be issued in order to protect other traffic against the possibility that such a target might be a helicopter.
4. In some cases, it would be desirable to provide the controller with a more positive method of identifying targets such as these so that he could determine quickly whether they are spurious or whether they are actual aircraft.


I know this conclusion is disputed, but I don't find the disputes as compelling as the conclusion, personally.



posted on Feb, 18 2010 @ 12:40 PM
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reply to post by m0r1arty
 


We don't have "mirages 101" per say. lol

We study different phenomena, weather effects and so on. We look into everything with a lot of detail, which indirectly gives us plenty of knowledge to understand whats going on, adding to that common sense and a co-worker that might have another point of view, and most of the sightings are pretty straight forward.

If you study a lot about weather (like we do) you also gain enough knowledge to identify natural phenomena that otherwise would look like a UFO or something like that.

The problem is when we think we know it all, and we don't, or when we forget about the obvious.

In some cases "experts" are the worst witnesses because we tend to forget about the obvious stuff, or the simple explanation.

Another issue (and I've addressed this before) is the ego factor. Many times its the captain who makes a stupid mistake or a bad judgment. A co-pilot, young or naive will *almost* always follow what the captain is saying, even only to keep his career going.

There are reports circulating inside aviation, but most of them are immediately explained by giving a call to ATC or to someone else that can give you more information.

After a sighting, you can choose two different paths:

1- You pick up your ego, stand by what you claim you witness and face any possible consequences (the JL case is a very good example of a pilot being punished for that), either the sighting is explained or not.

2- (which is what most do) You watch, you think, and you shut up and move on. Possibly, reporting it to the military or other aviation institution, so they can judge what to do with that reporting, but at the same time, keeping the case quiet.

Mirages aren't a hazard, so it's not that mandatory that we learn about them. We discuss them, but it's not like we have to know everything about them. They just tell us to use common sense and use the knowledge that we have.

Most technology now overcomes any hazard that can come from mirages or bad sight judgment.

For example, in an approach, the ILS system aims you to the runway, and when you turn off the auto-pilot you can clearly see the runway in front of you. And if the weather is bad enough, you just use any aids at your disposal.

And even if you don't have technology, for whatever reason, today airports are so well charted that if you follow the path given in the map, plus the assistance from the ATC, you are almost landing without even noticing it.

You have speed checks, altitude checks, and so on. It's almost like a tradition. You do the same thing over and over.

So, mirages only appear to be relevant or noticed in mid flight, where they are not that much of a threat. If they are a threat, you simply call for assistance to the ATC, which in their turn will call the military and use radars to track down the possible threat.

That shows the events that most of you are already aware of, since it's common in so many cases.

There is a small amount of mirages that are actually confused with Flying Objects (unknown, of course). Those will end up in mystery, or they will be explained. But it's so....futile to aviation that it has no relevance.


Edit to add:


Btw, we usually are so occupied and distracted by the cockpit work, that we don't pay much attention to the outside anyway. lol Only when needed (acknowledging traffic and so on)

[edit on 18/2/10 by Tifozi]



posted on Feb, 18 2010 @ 01:03 PM
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reply to post by Tifozi
 


Excellent reply Tifozi, thanks for the pilot's perspective. In all the cases i think may be mirages, they never seem to be a hazard to flight so I don't necessarily think they should make mirage training a higher priority from what I've seen.

By the way you mentioned ego, I wonder if this captain's ego is preventing him from acknowledging a mirage in this sighting?:

Captain James Howard UFO

29th June 1954 - JFK to London. Sighted over Labrador, Newfoundland at 19000ft.

Look at his sketch... large odd shaped object... multiple spheres in a line on both sides



Now why do i think it's a mirage? 2 main reasons:

1. It exactly matches the speed and direction of the aircraft. That's exactly what a mirage of a distant object would do.

2. He said here's what it looked like "at times". At times means at other times it didn't look like that so the appearance was morphing or varying. That's a characteristic which is commonly attributed to mirages.

Now the ego part comes into play when he said it definitely wasn't an illusion. Unless he threw something at it and heard the metal clang when it hit, I don't know how he would know because illusions can appear very solid. Anyway I'm not sure it's a mirage, but it certainly has mirage characteristics such as tracking the plane exactly and the shape morphing.




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