Wednesday, December 3, 2014

BML Cam1 Jonas Ridge Camera for September 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, fireworks, 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 stars, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, the Moon, lightning and fireflies. Disappointingly, Cam1 has yet to record any support for mysterious or unknown lights in the Brown Mountain area.

BML Cam1 recorded 271 hours of nocturnal observation time on 30 nights during September 2014, resulting in 31,296 individual 30-second time-exposure images. This brings the totals over the past 20 months since start up in Feb 2013 to 3,047 hours of nocturnal observation time on 350 different nights resulting in 326,058 individual time-exposure images.

No abnormal, unusual or unexpected nocturnal lights were recorded by BML Cam1 during September 2014.  However, the usual distant city/town/rural lights & airplane lights were visible this month.  Rainy/foggy weather obscured views much of the month.  Reflections of Hwy 181 vehicle lights on the east side of Ripshin Ridge were visible many nights in the low clouds/fog.   Dust plumes & clouds in the valley s. of Lenoir were visible many nights.  Multiple airplanes landing & taking off from Statesville airport were visible on Sep 7 (11:56 pm--2:16 am) & again on Sep 21-22 [including bright runway lights turned on at 3:46 am (6:30 video time), plane lands at 3:53 am (6:37 video time), then runway lights off at 4:06 am (6:50 video time)].  Lights from CMC-North East Stadium in Kannapolis were burning from the start of the video at 9:27 pm until 10:05 pm (0:00-0:38 video time) on Sep 13.

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