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This photo was taken by an amateur astronomer from the San Francisco area. In the photograph a purplish corkscrew streamer merges with the plasma trail of the shuttle, which then brightens significantly.
NASA scientists looked at the photograph and dismissed the corkscrew streamer as an artifact created by jiggling of the camera. The NASA 'explanation' was not accompanied by any published analysis, only a statement that there was no thunderstorm activity below Columbia when the photograph was taken.
The reference to an "absence of regional storm activity" implies that scientists know what causes lightning. On the contrary, a world authority on the subject, Dr. Martin Uman, admits that the cause of the charge separation that results in lightning in a thunderstorm is not understood. It is simply a belief that thunderstorms somehow generate lightning.
Dr. Alfred Beddard of the National Oceanics and Atmospherics Administration, who was the first to record powerful infrasound from high-altitude sprites, had his array of detectors trained on the shuttle re-entry path. He had recorded the sounds of shuttle re-entries before. This time he detected an unusual "geophysical event, as powerful as an earthquake" close to the shuttle's path, moments before Columbia's breakup.
NASA officials took the photograph seriously enough that they enlisted experts in low-frequency sound waves, or "infrasound," to look for evidence of a faint thunderclap at the time the photograph was taken. The unique quality of infrasound is that it carries for thousands of miles. Infrasonic arrays can detect volcanoes erupting, the hiss of meteors, lightning strikes and the sound of space shuttles returning home.
Although the scientists did not find evidence of a celestial thunderclap in the recording of Columbia's descent, there were some curious findings. The network of 10 infrasonic stations -- spread from Hawaii to Texas -- picked up an unusual burst of sound as the shuttle passed over the California-Nevada border. The sound occurred at the same moment that a photographer near Reno snapped pictures showing a brightening of the shuttle's plasma trail.
Wild Blue Yonder: San Francisco Photos indicate Shuttle Columbia was struck by Hyper-Lightning on Reentry by Guy Cramer
The Photos NASA won't yet release to the public concerning lightning apparently striking the Shuttle Columbia on reentry over San Francisco minutes before the breakup have been released in the United Kingdom on a TV documentary called Megalightning. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board reviewed the photos but claimed that the anomaly must be due to camera shake and not an actual lighting strike as no thunder storm was in the local area as had been seen in previous research on high altitude lightning. I have posted these photos from the TV show below. Since receiving these photos in January 2005 provided from Andy Robins (used from the documentary), I have requested the actual photos directly from NASA Administration through the Freedom of Information Act but have not received anything in six months. The evidence within the photos is contrary to the CAIB expert evaluation which may be why the photos have been kept out of public scrutiny.
I corresponded with NASA JPL about three years ago on a research program, they required an expert in Air Ions and had been told I was the expert. They said at the end of the research that I had saved them 10-15 years of time with the material I provided them. Understandably when the Columbia accident occurred, due to the region of the atmosphere where the initial problems occurred (ionosphere) I began to conduct my own research which was later reviewed by the CAIB.
Originally posted by Long Lance...anyway, i'd like to know why only the downstream portion brightens.. if i understood correctly, the shuttle looks more or less like a glowing dot upon re-entry, the line effect is due to exposure time. if so, at the time of lightning, the downward section of the trail doesn't even exist yet.
Additionally, lightning happens between two 'electrodes', where are they? i can see the shuttle piercing plasma layers, resulting in a zap, but then it should have been in the middle of the bolt not at one end.
Originally posted by Matyas
Thanks for the long reply but I didn't realize I was being condenscending.
Originally posted by Long Lance...what does a rolleye smiley followed by linking an elementary paper indicate?
...which in turn raises question regarding the nature of the 'corkscrew'.
If this pic was taken during an instant, with very short exposure time, then all of what i said collapses like a house of cards, if i'm right (astronomic photographs usually require relatively long exposure times) it could still have been lightning (which then struck the ion trail, not the shuttle), with the mentioned caveats, though. in this case, a shuttle would have to leave a long, visibly glowing trail, of course.
Originally posted by Matyas If I seem patronizing to either you or Zorgon, I apologize. I still find it hard to believe people don't know.
Originally posted by Long Lance
whose moonblot pics draw universal attention that amounts to hysteria, while at the same time satellite pics of underground base entrances or even moon pic archives with thousands of pics instead of just four are routinely falling by the wayside.