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Area 51 fly by photograph

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posted on Sep, 16 2010 @ 02:40 AM
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I was sent this link of what I believe is a recent photograph of Area 51 taken from an aircraft.



I'm still up in the air (so to speak) if the photograph was taken from restricted airspace.




posted on Sep, 16 2010 @ 02:53 AM
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reply to post by gariac
 



Really interesting. I'm not quite sure if it's legitimate or not, but it seems like it. I wonder what all that sandy material is? Nice post



posted on Sep, 16 2010 @ 02:59 AM
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You can see Yucca Dry Lake here:



I think these are taken from unrestricted airspace. The exif is Aug 2010. No focal length stated, so probably a non-Canon telephoto lens.



posted on Sep, 16 2010 @ 08:50 PM
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These are great shot shots! I wonder if they were taken from commercial or private aircraft. Judging by the angle, it would almost have to be commercial unless it were inside the restricted zone. This looks like the angle I figured you'd get from the closest flight path. Hold on...


...yep, it is. This is a flight path similar to *this one*.

I reconstructed the view in Google Earth with high confidence. The first photo (first here, not chronologically) was taken from approximately 36.61N, 116.30W at 39,000 ft. Here's a thumbnail of an animation of the reconstruction flipping back and forth between the photo and Google Earth. Click it or here for a bigger version.



I wish my plane had flown that close....and that I'd had that camera...and I hadn't been behind the engine....and the weather had been clearer...



posted on Sep, 17 2010 @ 12:02 AM
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How did you get the two images so well aligned? If I understand what you did, you aligned Google Earth imagery to a photograph. That means you got the right angle and altitude. That can't be easy.

Imagej has a mode using the "unwarp" plugin that can warp one image to fit another.



posted on Sep, 18 2010 @ 01:13 AM
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Originally posted by gariac
How did you get the two images so well aligned? If I understand what you did, you aligned Google Earth imagery to a photograph. That means you got the right angle and altitude. That can't be easy.

Imagej has a mode using the "unwarp" plugin that can warp one image to fit another.


I made you a 7-minute video showing the entire process. I'd strongly suggest watching it at 720p

Here's a direct link to the video in 720p.

If you like squinting, you can watch it below instead.



posted on Sep, 18 2010 @ 02:33 PM
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Thanks. I think I got the technique. Note the overlay in Google Earth has a limitation on the size of the image and it doesn't seem to be a hard and fast rule. They call it the "aperture" limit. On my PC, it is 3600x3600. Beyond the aperture limit, google wants you to tile the overlay into pieces. I run into this when doing the line of sight analysis overlays that are often 8 to 16 tiles.

I think you are running an older version of google earth, or you are not running the PC version. Google has gone through great pains to hide the controls on the current rev. The middle mouse controls tilts and the right mouse controls rotation. It is far inferrior to the older versions where the tools just stayed on the screen. The linux version has the older format, but unfortunately it has to run in opengl, which makes it very slow.

There are some smaller planes that do the Vegas to Reno route (DH6 or DH8 class), I'm going to poke around later and see what commercial flight does the lowest fly by.



posted on Sep, 18 2010 @ 06:23 PM
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Originally posted by gariac
I think you are running an older version of google earth, or you are not running the PC version. Google has gone through great pains to hide the controls on the current rev. The middle mouse controls tilts and the right mouse controls rotation. It is far inferrior to the older versions where the tools just stayed on the screen. The linux version has the older format, but unfortunately it has to run in opengl, which makes it very slow.


Here's what GE says:
"Google Earth: 5.1.3535.3218
Build Date: Apr 14, 2010
Build Time: 8:17:08 pm
Renderer: DirectX 9
Operating System: Microsoft Windows Vista (Service Pack 0) [Which is interesting, because I'm running Windows 7, not Vista]
Video Driver: 000010DE (00008.00015.00011.08644)
Max Texture Size: 8192x8192
Server: kh.google.com"

I don't typically use the on-screen controls. Even though i'm on a laptop with no middle mouse button, I use the touchpad + shift & ctrl keys. Scroll area on touchpad (or double-click) for "zoom", plain touchpad for pan, shift+touchpad for rotating & tilting around the pivot point, ctrl+touchpad for stationary camera rotating&tilting (important for aligning photos). I hope they haven't screwed up the controls since April.




There are some smaller planes that do the Vegas to Reno route (DH6 or DH8 class), I'm going to poke around later and see what commercial flight does the lowest fly by.

Why do you want the lowest flyby?



posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 05:28 PM
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I guess there is a way to turn the GE on-screen controls back on.

Flying at 15k versus 40k is nearly 4 miles lower. Well I suppose you need to compare the hypotenuse. Assume your flyby is 20 miles away to Groom Lake. The altitudes are MSL IIRC, so 15kft MSL is about 10kft AGL and 40kft MSL is 35kft AGL. Call this 2 miles AGL versus 6 AGL. So we're talking 20.9 miles versus 20.1 miles. I suppose that isn't all that great of a distance.

But for other targets, such as the new Yucca airbase, lower would be better.



posted on Sep, 20 2010 @ 12:17 AM
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Originally posted by gariac
Flying at 15k versus 40k is nearly 4 miles lower. Well I suppose you need to compare the hypotenuse. Assume your flyby is 20 miles away to Groom Lake. The altitudes are MSL IIRC, so 15kft MSL is about 10kft AGL and 40kft MSL is 35kft AGL. Call this 2 miles AGL versus 6 AGL. So we're talking 20.9 miles versus 20.1 miles. I suppose that isn't all that great of a distance.

I've wondered many times if it would be beneficial to be lower, if only for the decrease in distance. I figured, though I've never looked into it, that the lower the angle the more haze and distortion from heat.


But for other targets, such as the new Yucca airbase, lower would be better.

I think you're right on that one. Yucca is probably close enough that lower would help, assuming you're on the closest path, though I'm still not sure about the haze/heat thing. Fortunately doesn't have a giant mountain two feet in front of it



posted on Sep, 20 2010 @ 12:47 AM
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The vast majority of the thermal distortion and haze is at ground level. If it wasn't, we couldn't shoot that base from Tikaboo with any quality. Haze isn't as bad as you think. I use an optical "low pass filter" to filter off the haze. The effect of the haze is inversely proportional to the forth power of the wavelength. In English, a filter at 400nm to maybe 420nm at 50% transmission gets rid of most of the haze. I follow that with a KR-1.5 filter, which attenuates some of the blue spectrum. After filtering, what remains is to re-establish the dynamic range with the level sliders or bending the curves. That is, due to haze, black looks dark gray and white looks light gray. The histogram is less than half the range of the CCD.

Thermal distortion can't be filtered. There are insanely complicated DSP techniques to reduce thermal distortion. However, it takes a very small amount of altitude to greatly reduce the thermal distortion. There is a paper from the Tonopah Test Range that goes into this. They looked into all sorts of schemes to improve their optical quality, and the final result was to just raise the cameras higher above the ground.

The aircraft glass is a problem. I've photographed out of helicopters with the window open and closed. Open is way better. [I'm not brave enough to do this with the doors removed!] There are Cessnas that have windows that can be flipped up. What you need is a good grip on the camera. I use a strap that goes over my hand.

Tom Mahood pulled the plug on his BlueFire website, and no offense to Tom, but technology has changed greatly since he did his famed flight around the range. I think he tramsfer the website to deamlandresort, though it seems to be distributed on other websites too. Tom shot the Korean airfield, TPECR and other facilities that nobody photographed before, well at least as an outsider.

Note that sky-uv filters are a joke. They pass plenty of UV. This was a big deal when film was king because film had good UV sensitivity. It is not quite as critical with digital photography since the CCD is more sensitive to IR than UV. B&W sells real UV filters for photography. It is hard to fit photographic filters to telescopes and it would take a few more paragraphs to explain how I do that.



posted on Sep, 22 2010 @ 02:39 PM
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Looking at flights around the range, I think the route to watch will be a new service from Las Vegas to Wendover. It will be starting in March via Allegiant Air. Vegas to Wendover



posted on Sep, 22 2010 @ 11:29 PM
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reply to post by gariac
 


I've never really looked into these restricted airspaces before, so I may be misinterpreting things, but according to this document, R-4807A isn't active on the weekends. If you can fly in it on the weekend, then you could put yourself (in a helicopter) a mere 10 miles from the base, on its west side. I took a look in GE at the view from a high altitude (for your average helicopter anyway) of 20,000 ft and simulated my camera at full optical zoom (20x) and it's awesome. Sedan crater spans half of a frame from that vantage point. Papoose more than fills the frame. Groom is a 4x2 panorama. With some high-powered optics, a tripod, and an open door, you could sit up there and casually capture what would be by far the most detailed images of the base ever, and from a side rarely seen. Just thought I'd throw that out there, since coming here one day and seeing a thread titled "New Photos: Doorknob on Area 51's Hangar 6 missing one of its screws, more photos to follow -- by gariac" would so much more than make my day.



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