Fascinating enigma, CottonwoodStormy. I have no idea what it is, but I have also have my doubts that you would be seeing Etna from 700 km away --
especially as the direction doesn't seem to match up. (EDIT: but see my later post below, as maybe it does match up after all. END EDIT.)
Thanks also to ElevenAugust for the enhancements and other materials.
I've also done a little work on the images and would like to post a few examples. The first two are just done by making adjustments to hue and colour
saturation, along with contrast and brightness. (I cropped the right half of the pic out to save space but left the full vertical length of your
image.) I'm hoping that this one gives a close impression of the fire colours you saw:
This one is the same basic image, but after increasing contrast and dropping the brightness to create more of a night-time effect.
Obviously, both the above images are reduced in size, but aside from the manipulations mentioned above, I have not done anything else. No photoshop
copying, pasting, cloning or brush work.
The last one is much the same contrast/brightness and saturation/hue settings as the above, but is simply a crop of the lower part of the "column of
fire", taken from the original, full-sized image you posted.
We can see that at the lower level there is a "flame within a flame" and that's very interesting to me.
I hope these help with solving this mystery.
edit on 10/4/13 by JustMike because: (no reason given)
ziggymojo thank you for your analysis but if you look at the daylight pic you see the edge of the doorframe from which I took the photo from in the
wide blue open sky. I assure you I did not take the pic from behind a window, I opened a steel door, and by the way, windows here are mainly iron for
security, with iron bars as well, (I'm in Algeria, lol). It's not a reflection but thank you again.
Understood I'm more than willing to accept when I'm wrong. That was just my initial interpretation when viewing it and enhancing the light
levels myself. After seeing the daylight picture I can't argue my interpretation
Was this column of fire staying in one place? Or was it moving downward? It's obvious the object emitting the light source was at the lowest part of
As it happens that "reflection" concept was also one of the first things I checked. It's always worth a look but after seeing the daylight pics
there was no way I could see that as an answer -- and the thread suddenly became vastly more interesting.
Here's the entire column, enhance via contrast, saturation & hue, but this time it's the full length from the original image with the building
cropped out on the left and rather featureless night sky on the right also removed.
Again, I have to admit I'm baffled but oh, I wish I could see this in reality. It looks amazing.
YAH, so am I!!!!!!!! LOL, well I just sent the original photo to elevenaugust so maybe you can find out even more now, but really I have no idea!!!!
Thank you for your contributions, pretty weird anyway.
You know, I think it could be Etna! Take a look at this:
Etna is almost exactly east of you!
And even though It's a long way off, that's a pretty big volcano and on a clear night, the light of the eruptions' flames could be seen from a long
way away. Volcanic heat produces very bright light and even in the enhanced image you can see the "hotness" in the lower part of the flame. And
there is basically nothing much between you and Etna. I mean, no Alps or anything! Just lots of ocean.
There could also be the effects of light reflecting off the atmosphere, especially over the sea that's between you and Sicily.
I know you don't believe me but.. Mt Etna is on the Isle of Sicily
Sicily is directly East and Etna is slightly North of you.
Tunisia is only:
Strait of Sicily Tunnel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia en.wikipedia.org... - 33k - Cached - Similar pages
The Tunnel under the Strait of Sicily is a proposed megaproject to link Sicily and Tunisia. The distance between the coastlines is about 155
kilometres (96 mi) ...
Ferries from Sicily to Tunisia - Direct Ferries www.directferries.co.uk... - 25k - Cached - Similar pages
With directferries.co.uk you can compare and book Ferries from Sicily to Tunisia on all routes and with Europe's leading ferry companies
Sicily to Tunisia technomadics.net... - 50k - Cached - Similar pages
Nov 21, 2009 ... Three months sounded like such a long time, but on the ground, ... It turns out, Tunisia is surprisingly close to Sicily — a
comparatively short ...
I would much appreciate it if some one would put a up map showing Algeria,Tunisia and Sicily
maybe even one with Mt. Etna's location on it.
I don't know how to place photos in my post's
Agreed. I must have beat you to posting by about ten seconds. (We're logged as posting at the same time.)
Looking at the enhanced images, we have very apparent flame at the base. I think that the red around it and also the puff of red in the column above
it (that gradually think out) is smoke that is being lit by the extreme heat and strong light from the eruption's flames.
In those circumstances, it would seem to be a column of fire, especially from a long way off.
Maybe you two are right, I have no idea but as I say I saw the lights in the sky and maybe it was atmospheric reflection or something, I'm sorry to
say I didn't believe, I just think its incredulous to see that from 700 kms away in the mountains and to be even more precise I am actually 15
minutes up a mountain from Collo in a town called Zitouna. Collo is at the bottom of the mountain I live on so I am actually up above sea level
(around 600 meters). That seems to be the only plausible explanation, but if I happen to get any better pics I will definitely post. I didn't know
mount Etna was east of me, that just seems too coincidental then. Thank you thank you for relieving me anyway, I thought I was going crazy, lol.
Well, I had to do my looking around on Google Earth. I know where Etna is, but had to look and see where it was in relation to Algiers.
Then it was clear: 99% certain that CottonwoodStormy is seeing Etna!
However, I have to say: it was well worth posting and asking about and hats off to CottonwoodStormy for doing so. I mean, seeing Etna from afar! How
cool is that?
But for CottonwoodStormy: you asked how to upload images on ATS. So, just go to THIS
THREAD where SkepticOverlord (one of the owners here) explains it all. He set it up so he knows what he's talking about. It's very easy to us --
much better than what we had before!
edit on 10/4/13 by JustMike because: (no reason given)
Etna is pretty impressive, yes. Over 3,300 metres*** tall, with a cone (ie whole volcano) being 40 km across! (2 1/2 times taller than Vesuvius.)
The only bigger volcano in Europe & Nth Africa is Mt Teide in Tenerife.
I guess you have had some nights with perfect atmospheric conditions for seeing it from afar. And being up above sea level may have even helped in
this case. But wow... It really puts things into perspective, doesn't it?
And it was great that you posted about it. Far better to do that and let us get our heads together and try and work it out than just worry. Now at
least you can be pretty sure about what you're looking at, which is better than wondering forever after!
(***For US readers, that's almost 11,000 feet tall, with the volcano's cone being 25 miles across.)
edit on 10/4/13 by JustMike because: (no reason given)
Thanks to you for the original photo! It has a native resolution for the Sony DSC-W310, and was taken in the landscape mode at almost the max possible
resolution (4000x2448), with the flash on, and at the very short exposure time of 0.025s with a 100 ISO (thus the fact that the image probably does
not do justice to what it really looked like).
For everyone interested in it, here are a direct Divshare link for download it.
As it can be seen here, the possible resolution for this camera
are: 4000 x 2672, 4000 x 2248, 3264 x 2448, 2592 x 1944, 2048 x 1536 and 640 x 480 (ratio 1.497, 1.779 or 1.333 ).
The daylight photo, taken in portrait mode, have a resolution of 929x1391 (ratio 1.497), which is probably a reduced version of the original size
Anyway, here the new enhanced version of the original night shoot with the strange beam of light:
You said that there were two beam of light and that they were "dancing" from time to time, right? Please take a look at this video (from 2'36" to
2'55") and tell me if it looked like that:
I know that Algeria is really not the kind of country on which everyone could have this kind of equipment, but who knows for a really special and
ETA: about the Etna, well why not but I have three problems with this theory:
1- How the hell any distant (we are speaking here of more or less 450 miles!!) volcano light could produce such a perfect beam of light?
2- Was the Etna in eruption at the days of the sightings?
3- Think about the distance/altitude problem: if this is really some light phenomenon from Etna right above it, at what altitude is it really
It can be determined with the following informations:
- Camera Sensor size: Sony DSC-W310 is 1/2.3 " (6.16 x 4.62 mm, 0.28 cm²)
- Distance Witness-Etna: 450 miles (or 724.204 m or 724km)
- Horizon line: can be roughly determined with the daylight photo
With this, the lower altitude (the basis of the beam in the night photo) of the beam is 22.84° above the horizon line, meaning that if over mount
Etna, then it is ..... 504.129m or 504km above sea level!! ... which is in exosphere, outside the atmosphere!
However, it need to be improved with the possible value and range of refraction index, as pointed out by Mike, of course.
edit on 10-4-2013 by
elevenaugust because: (no reason given)
Thank you Mike I will do my research for sure now so next post I can just attach them. There have been a few things up here in these remote mountains
I have watched (easy to get paranoid as I am originally Canadian) and Algeria is like a savage wilderness so I will keep my eyes to the skies and wow
yah, I can't believe that. I am amazed, what extraordinary things mother nature can produce. Thank you for solving the puzzle, these lights have
always come from the east like I say for the last month or so and I never saw them there before so that must be it!!!! I think I will do some more
research on Mount Etna and its effects!!!!!!! Thank you to everyone for helping me! Best regards, Tamara
Tonio I swear to you the lights were in the sky, they did not appear to originate from the ground, and as you see from the daylight pic the only
thing directly in front was the roof of another house and trees and beyond that is the sea. They did not have some routine movement, like fire does
not, it has flames that flicker and move wherever the current takes it like dancing, that's what I saw in the sky, and the more I think about it the
more I think it must be mount Etna and that's why the sky is pulsating and glowing orange and maybe what I saw was some sort of atmospheric gas that
ran vertical in the sky in between normal looking clouds, it was wierd. I hope I get some more pics and if I do I will send them to you for sure.
No problems. It was a group effort here and I only came in rather late.
But regarding atsmospherics, you mentioned that you've been seeing this column of fire for about the past month, which works in well with early
spring. And I found an interesting notation in the wiki article on horizons and the effect of atmopheric refraction
here, where it says:
Refraction is strongly affected by temperature gradients, which can vary considerably from day to day, especially over water. In extreme cases,
usually in springtime, when warm air overlies cold water, refraction can allow light to follow the Earth's surface for hundreds of
So, the conditions have been absolutely ideal for atmospheric refraction. As the map shows, it's basically just sea almost all the way between you
and Sicily. The med has just gone through its coldest months of the year, so the waters are at their lowest temperature, but now with spring, the air
above the water is warmer than the water itself, often by some degrees. So that would help to refract light a long way.
Then when we factor in that the top of Etna is still about 2700 metres higher than where you live, the amount of refraction is much less than would be
needed if it were a much lower object -- especially because the light it produces is incredibly intense as much of it comes from white-hot, molten
It's likely that once the med warms up you won't see this effect so much, even if Etna keeps erupting. (It probably will though, as it's one of the
most active volcanos in the world.) So, make the most of it!
However, we are tending to think it's Etna. If you go to my post up the page
here where I've included an enhanced image, it's pretty plain that
there's a variable-intensity and non-linear heat source that appears to be a very hot flame, with what looks like a fire-illuminated smoke trail
The high-intensity beams you've given for example purposes often present issues with observers (and also lead to ufo reports when the hit clouds),
but they are much more well-defined and linear, with a more gradual and progressive trailing off in intensity than we're seeing in this case. We have
these "sky lights" (or whatever we want to call them) here in Prague and while they're quite distinctive, they are not very similar to what
CottonwoodStormy has captured.
The direction also seems to indicate Etna and it's the right time of year for the best atmospheric refraction conditions as well.
Just a thought regarding the two-pillar effect that CottonwoodStormy has observed in some cases. This might also be partly due to refraction, or could
also result from two separate "hot spots" within the volcano's caldera.
That makes complete sense, its hanging around 70 degrees here and temperatures are vastly different also in Europe, much colder, and we often get the
end of the weather in Europe, if it rains in France, we are getting rain a few days later a lot of the times but still warmer so its very possible
with temp fluctuations and this time of year with open sea that the light managed to travel that far. Crazy!!!! I can't imagine what it looks like
in Sicily then! I do think this was atmospheric vertical flames reflected somehow in the sky. Quite cool, I will enjoy!!! Thanks again everyone for
the group effort, I'm really glad I posted this now!
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