Friday, June 20, 2014

BML Cam1 Jonas Ridge Camera (Feb 2014)

The Brown Mountain Lights Research Team's BML Cam1 sits atop a house on Jonas Ridge and overlooks Brown Mountain 7 miles to the east. It has been running since February 2013.
Dr. Dan Caton, Professor and Director of Observatories, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, Appalachian State University (Boone, NC) installed and operates the camera as part of an on-going research project. Dr. Caton also installed and operates another research camera (BML Cam2) located at the southern end of Linville Gorge. The images from both cameras have been compiled into nightly videos and posted on YouTube---just search "Brown Mountain Lights Camera 1" (or Camera 2) for the individual nightly videos. Both cameras are modified highly light-sensitive comet-hunting cameras, as evidenced by the frequent diffraction/over-saturation/lens flare features produced by overly bright lights.
To date, numerous lights have been recorded by Cam1, including: town/city/rural lights in the valleys beyond Brown Mountain, communication tower lights, airplanes and helicopters, highway-vehicle lights, off-highway vehicle lights, stadium lights, and back-country user lights. Natural lights captured by the camera include bright stars, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, the moon and lightning. Disappointingly, Cam1 has not recorded any support for mysterious or unknown lights in the Brown Mountain area.
BML Cam 1 recorded 115 hours of nocturnal observation time on 11 nights during February 2014, resulting in nearly 14,000 30-second time-exposure images. The following images are selected to show some significant features. Note that the camera position does not change during this sequence of images.  Blurry or out-of-focus distant lights are caused by rising heat waves that distort the light waves during the time exposures---lights that instantly flash on and off once produce sharp images.

Twilight illuminates the area and allows identification of Lick Mountain,
24.2 miles from the camera
Helicopter leaving Caldwell Memorial Hospital in Lenoir

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