The Brown Mountain Lights research team's Camera 1 (BML Cam1) overlooks Brown Mountain from a house on Jonas Ridge seven miles to the west. During 2013, the camera operated for 133 nights scattered over 8 months and recorded nearly 112,000 individual 30-second or 60-second time-exposure images representing nearly 1,200 hours of nocturnal observation time. Time-lapse videos of each of the 133 nightly events were uploaded to YouTube with only a day or so delay each time, allowing the public to see and review the same information available to the research team. Monthly summaries with selected annotated images have recently been posted on this blog.
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. The camera is a modified highly-light-sensitive comet-hunting camera, 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, BML Cam1 has not recorded any support for mysterious or unknown lights in the Brown Mountain area.
Analyses of BML Cam1 for 2014 and BML Cam 2 (located at the south end of Linville Gorge) for 2013 and 2014 are underway and those results will also be posted here in the future.