Saturday, August 30, 2014

BML Cam1 Jonas Ridge Camera for May 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 intermittently 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 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 172 hours of nocturnal observation time on 24 nights during May 2014, resulting in 19,846 individual 30-second time-exposure images. This brings the totals over the past 16 months since start up in Feb 2013 to 2,188 hours of nocturnal observation time on 243 different nights resulting in 262,560 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.
Probable building fire in Lenoir
Lights due to processes internal to the camera
Image transition errors produced the band of faint lights across the lower portion of the image.
These are an exact but dim duplicate of the bright band of electric lights above Brown Mountain.
The dim vertical lines that connect the dim lights with their parent bright lights are 'smear lines' produced during the fly-in transition between the previous 30-second-exposure image and the next image.


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