posted on Jul, 20 2018 @ 08:18 AM
I drive due west in the mornings to go to work. The sun is usually rising directly behind me (which is awesome not to have it in my eyes). I usually
leave before the sun breaks the horizon and my drive is fairly long, so I get to see it rise above the horizon from behind me.
I've long noticed that as the sun comes up it will reflect off what I believe to be houses located up in what we call the "front range" of the
Rockies. So the sun will be on the horizon behind me, and there will be all these points of light in front of me. They're surprisingly bright, and
they change as the sun moves. No two days are the same as the angle of the sun changes with the seasons, and some are far brighter than others.
I've always equated these reflections with wealthy persons who build great big homes up in the mountains and these homes have great big picture
windows to take in the view. If I were to estimate I'd guess these reflections are fully 60 to 80 miles distant from me.
During my commute(s) I usually try to find something to occupy my mind, a different subject on a different day. I guess I'm hoping I will someday
have that "Eureka!!" moment and come up with some novel solution to some complex problem (or a great invention or something). It helps pass the
time as I'm not much for listening to music while driving (much to my wife's dismay).
So a few weeks back I was looking at one particularly bright reflection in the mountains and I wondered what kind of a house or structure could give
off such a blinding reflection. What did it look like? Then my mind switched onto trying to figure out a method to actually locate the house and go
look at it. What followed was weeks of trying to figure out a method to calculate the location of the different reflections. It turns out this is a
brain teaser to beat all.
Many years ago I worked as a surveyor doing land surveys, so solving problems and finding things using geometry is something I know how to do. But
I've exhausted every idea I can think of to locate one of these reflections precisely. Here are some of the ideas I've thought of...
1. Have 2-3 people at 2-3 known and separated locations take compass bearings on the object, then triangulate the location onto a map. There are
numerous problems with this method, most importantly someone in a location a few miles away would likely not see the same reflection but a different
one. Also, how would you communicate exactly what reflection you're looking at to triangulate (so everyone was getting a bearing on the same
2. Calculate the exact azimuth and altitude of the sun and then calculate the possibilities of location using a process of elimination on aerial
photographs. The problem with this one is, reflections are usually at oblique angles to the light source (sun in this case), so it would be nearly
impossible to eliminate possibilities.
3. A combination of the above.
4. (your solution)
So why am I so fascinated with this? Well, it started as just something to occupy my mind, but the more I thought about it the more captivating it
became. My quest now is to actually find one of these locations because I would like to photograph it at the same time I see the reflections 60-80
miles away. I'm confident it would make one hell of a photograph! It must look like a giant laser beam shining down into the valley below, the
glare must be incredible. And, if there was even the slightest bit of haze or fog it would be very pronounced. Bottom line...I'd like to get a
picture of it (plus I'd just like to answer the puzzle).
So, ATS, what would YOU do to figure out this puzzle???