Continued from previous post ...
The only image from Markenes is of the midpoint stage of the spiral event.
The following is a Google Earth view of the background Markenes mountains as they would have appeared in the early morning of 9 Dec, 2009.
The following is an overlay of Image18 and 19, scaled to the background mountains to show that the observer location has been identified in GE.
The only image from Puoltsa is of the midpoint stage of the spiral event.
The Puoltsa image by itself is lacking an identifiable background that could be used to establish a definitive Google Earth match. However, the
observer report states
"The photo was taken by one Patrik Ohman, on his way to work in Kiruna."
Examining a map, we find that there is only one main road leading to Kiruna. This road goes almost due SE for a short distance from Puoltsa before
turning northward to Kiruna, therefore the view of the spiral event would be in an easterly direction as evidenced by the photo.
Even with the lack of a suitable background to place the photo location exactly, the short stretch of road, compared to the much greater distance to
the event itself, will not introduce any significant error. Even so, the Puoltsa photo will only be used to confirm the final event location, and not
be used in the initial triangulation.
Identification of Event Location
Using the above observation points, it becomes straightforward to quite accurately plot and locate the vicinity in which the events took place.
Firstly, lets take an overview of these locations as they appear on the map.
Next, bearings are taken from each observer location based on the above publically available photos and observe where these bearings intersect on the
Now the estimated locations are as far as I can ascertain, relatively accurate but there is an additional test that can be applied to these locations
to raise confidence in their accuracy.
All of these locations fall EXACTLY on a "great circle" path ... a "great circle" is the shortest location between 2 points on a sphere.
In the following image, it can be readily seen that these 5 estimated locations do indeed map perfectly onto a great circle segment.
And if this great circle segment is extended, we have yet another confirmation of the validity of these locations as the extended great circle
trajectory that the missile would presumably have followed to minimize fuel requirements, intersects perfectly with the Russian missile target
location downrange at the Kamchatka Penninsula.
We are now in a position to make an educated guestimate for the initial launch area of the Bulava missile.
We can now attempt to make some estimates regarding the physical characteristics of the spiral event and in this instance will focus on the clearly
identified components B through F as indicated in the following image.
We are especially interested in obtaining distance, altitude and size information at each of these 5 unique points.
B = Point at which exhaust trail ends and blue spiral begins
C = Initial spiral location
D = Secondary spiral location
E = Commencement of spiral dissipation
F = Final stage of dissipation
The initial analysis will begin with an attempt to determine approximate altitudes associated with each of the points. To do this, we need to obtain a
reference angle that can be scaled to each of the points. Thankfully such a reference angle is easily obtained by using the westernmost summit of the
Kvanangstinder mountains identified at point A in the following image.
Using Google Earth, we obtain an elevation of 718 metres and a distance of 13,800 kms from the Skjervoy observer to this summit. Some simple
trigonometry yields an observation angle of 2.96 degrees - this will become our reference elevation angle that we can subsequently scale to obtain
elevation angles for points B through F.
Using the reference angle for point A of 2.96 degrees, we obtain the following elevation angles:
B = 3.45 degrees
C = 8.88 degrees
D = 9.86 degrees
E = 12.82 degrees
F = 13.32 degrees
Using these elevation angles and the distances from Skjervoy to the spiral event locations in the White Sea area, we can calculate an equivalent
altitude for each point. However, it has to be kept in mind that these altitudes do NOT take into account the curvature of the Earth, which
considering the distance between the observers and the White Sea locations derived earlier, will become significant. Because the amount of curvature
is considerable in this case, we need to not only determine the altitude of each point above the Skjervoy horizon as seen by the observer, we also
need to adjust/increase this altitude by taking into account the curvature of the Earth and the altitude below the observers local horizon.
The following table summarizes the altitudes of each spiral event point.
Points B through F show the altitudes of these points as they evolve over time.
The following image is a summary of the the various calculated distances, altitudes, etc of points B through F as they evolved through time.
Notice that points E & F which represent 2 phases of the spiral dissipation actually occur well above the atmosphere and definitely within the orbital
parameters of the space shuttle.
Continued next post ...