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 are 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.
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 yet to record any support for mysterious or unknown lights in the Brown Mountain area.
BML Cam1 recorded 184 hours of nocturnal observation time on 27 nights during June 2014, resulting in 20,930 individual 30-second time-exposure images. This brings the totals over the past 17 months since start up in Feb 2013 to 2,372 hours of nocturnal observation time on 243 different nights resulting in 283,490 individual 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 currents that distort the incoming light waves during the time exposures---lights that instantly flash on and off once produce sharp images.
Lights due to processes internal to the camera
The stacked line of lights on the lower right side of the image is due to the transition from the previous 30-second-time-exposure to the next exposure.
Distant cloud to ground lightning
Unannounced staged light test
Dr. Cato Holler, Jr., a member of our BML Research Team
camped at Bear Rocks
and shined his headlamp at several recorded times toward BML Cam1.
Light beam from headlight of vehicle
traveling south on NC Hwy 181 on Ripshin Ridge